Yes, it's that time again! A new year always feels like a wide, open field to me. I can run straight across the field with my head down, not looking in any direction. I can take the easiest path to get to the other side. I can avoid all obstacles that may be hidden in the grass. Or...I can leave my eyes and my heart open to search out the hidden treasures that are in that open field.
A new year should be exciting for christians. The possibilities for challenge and change should be something for which to be thankful. But, most of the time we do duck low and make a run for the other side. Don't be mistaken, though. God is not mocked. He watches our reaction to the obstacles and to the treasures, because He put them there.
Have you ever read John chapter 4 all the way through? Most christians have heard, read or studied the story of the woman at the well - as we should, it is a great example of how Christ sees and knows everything about us. However, after the Samaritan woman runs back to her city, the insights continue as Jesus talks with his disciples.
His disciples are concerned that Jesus needs to eat and Christ tells them;
'...I have meat to eat that ye know not of.' verse 32
When, like most of us, the disciples do not understand him at first, Jesus explains;
'...My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth and another reapeth.' verse 34-37
Upon first read, we (the modern disciples) may glean the understanding that Christ is the sower and we will reap eternal life because of it. Recently though, a Matthew Henry commentary (or maybe it was Calvin?) pointed out what I did not see on my own. Read vs. 35 again and imagine actually standing there with Christ and the disciples. Jesus tells us to "lift up our eyes and look on the fields". What we, and the other disciples are actually seeing is that it is "white already unto harvest." Do you see what Christ is showing us? It's the people of Samaria coming across the field (see verse 39&40). Jesus sowed a seed with the Samaritans, as disciples we can reapfrom his efforts and rejoice in any who to join the family of Christ.
So here I am looking out on my field in this new year. I know Christ has sown some things for me to reap this year. I know there are others who God has already placed in my field who need to know how I reaped the gift of eternal life and how it has changed (and continues to change) the way I live now. I will keep my eyes open and pray for the strength and courage to testify.
Thank you, Lord, for another new year and another open field.