Yesterday I started a series of posts on what I am learning through meditating on one passage daily over an extended period of time.
Here is the next post in the series:
So, then, what is this harvest we are to be about working in? Why is it so important to be singularly focused on? What makes it the harvest and not just any old one?
It is, in fact, a harvest of people – kingdom citizens – that God is calling to dwell with Him in peace for eternity. The kingdom of heaven has come to you.
It’s the end game – the goal – the reason for plowing, planting, watering, tending. The harvest is the bounty, the reward for one’s labors. And this bounty is the promised reward for Jesus’ labors – His perfect obedience and submission to a far greater plan than anyone had any notion was going on.
Luke 6:37-40 spells this out. Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
A harvest of people – of men, women, boys, and girls who are otherwise dying without ever hearing the Good News that Jesus came to save and rescue them from everlasting death, torment, destruction, wailing and gnashing of teeth, deepest regrets, sorrow, fear, terror… eternal punishment.
I think we easily forget that this is the only other option.
It’s not nothingness that we are watching our family, friends, loved ones slip into. If they never turn to Jesus in sorrow over their sin it isn’t peaceful slumber. It isn’t light or goodness or freedom. We have all been made with souls that will never die. Our every wicked thought or deed separates from the blazing goodness and holiness of a righteous God – so we either turn away from them and seek forgiveness and spend eternity in Heaven with God, or we remain guilty and spend eternity in Hell separated from Him. There is no palatable third option.
And it’s not quick and over with. It’s eternal – thousands upon tens of thousands of unending years of unimaginable torment. It’s Hell without the silly pointy-tailed, red-suited demons jumping about to entertain us. It’s Hell that is devoid of anything good whatsoever. It’s palpable darkness that never yields, for there is no light. It’s aloneness that we cannot fathom, for there is no fellowship. It is separation from everything and everyone that gives us any amount of comfort, for comfort of every sort is absent. It’s burning flames that burn but do not consume. It is not a frat party filled with debauchery – that would be tolerable and even preferable to some. It is devoid of even that kind of companionship. There will be no room for that kind of oppression, for everyone there will be overcome with what is yet an unknowable weight of their own guilt and shame. No, it is an un-ending agony, a nightmare of suffering and pain that never ends. Anguish is its only quality, and the Lord has invited us to participate in his saving souls from it.
But it is also easy to forget what he is saving us to.
Equally as eternal, and oppositely glorious, is an eternity with God. As stark and dramatic as hell will be, heaven will be even more gloriously good because it is filled with God’s presence. Everything about heaven is good because it is saturated in the goodness of God. Every vista will be glorious because he is glory. Every task will be fulfilling because he is all-satisfying. Every relationship will be deep and rich because he is rich in goodness and mercy. Nothing will need to be hidden or done in the secret, dark places – because he is light and love. There will be complete friendship and fellowship because God Himself is our friend. There will be no need or want because He is our provider. Everything is His to give and He does so generously. None of us will need to jockey for position or rank because we will all be perfectly readied – able to stand guiltless and righteous before a Holy God without blemish or fault because of Jesus’ labors for His harvest. Friends, this is what God is harvesting to.
Let us not forget what he is asking us to do – participate in his joy-filled work of harvesting. And let us be ever-mindful of what he harvests from.