I have vivid memories of my Grandma setting aside the wrapping paper after we opened gifts on Christmas morning. She would then fold it on the creases, and store it in the bottom drawer of her dining room curio cabinet. The Depression-era lingered on her. It was apparent in her kitchen too. Supper always meant multiple pots boiling, and her oven gave off the best smells of pot roasts, apple, or cherry pies. As she prepped, she made sure to cut vegetables to the core, meat to the bone, and then throw any remains into a stock pot. There was little waste in Gram’s home.
Since early 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, it might be the first for many of us to experience new forms of economic scarcity: there have been supply chain issues with carrier ships taking longer from oversees, no one to unload them once they hit our ports, and few truck drivers to transport the goods to the distribution centers. Allocation is another troubling trend interrupting the global economy, meaning the inventory that companies rely on from vendors is being provided at a lower percentage, or not at all. Just this week I heard these frustrations from a home builder, a local restaurant chain, and paper suppliers, resulting in delays in printing books, packaging, and toilet paper. What used to be available, just-in-time, and in multiple varieties, is now scarce. Plus, we are experiencing a labor shortage. Even though national newspapers tout full employment, I walked by three stores on Monday that had signs on the doors stating they are closed or on reduced hours due to the lack of employees. It was an eerie and unsettling feeling.
Where are the workers? Even today, the harvest is abundant, yet there is no one to work the fields. The restaurants are cooking, yet there is no one to serve the tables. The companies are built, yet there is no one to make the products.
These issues aren’t new, the Bible shows us times of abundance and scarcity, typically together:
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” Matthew 9:35-38.
Are we also experiencing a time of scarcity of faith? Have we believers stopped laboring for the Lord? Are we staying on our couch instead of returning to a church community? Are we church-hopping based on service times, instead of the teaching? Are we seeking Truth from the true Authority, or are we acting out of fear?
In the lack of workers parable above (Matthew 9:35-38), Jesus is saying the seeds of faith have been planted in many individuals, and God needs His harvesters – you and I – to introduce them to the Way, and the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
Jesus recognized spiritual drought in the Samaritan woman. After asking her for a drink from Jacob’s well, He says: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” Jesus goes on to say: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4 verses 10, 13-14).
As you think about your typical day and week, are you drawing on the living water inside of you? Or:
*Are you seeking other comforts (food, drink, exercise, distractions) instead of receiving peace with Jesus?
*Are you feeling alone and sad? Seek companionship from those who will lead you to God.
Or if you never asked for the living water, maybe it’s time. Jesus will quench this thirst, this hunger, all of your yearnings. He is our spiritual fountain. He provides our living water by giving us the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of us! Accept this gift.
We aren’t designed to live in a space of spiritual famine.
The story of the Samaritan woman as it is typically shared often ends there, but if you keep reading there is an even bigger lesson. The disciples come back from the Samaritan town bringing Jesus food. The woman comes back from the same place, bringing many of the townspeople: “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.” John 4:28-30.
The Samaritan woman, having known Jesus for only a few moments, comes alive and goes to enthusiastically share the Messiah!
*Has your witness slowed down or become less bold in fear of offending someone, anyone, everyone? God is asking all of us to introduce people to Him, offering them eternal life through His salvation.
*If you have left your faith journey, or simply taken a few steps off the path, how can you re-acquaint yourself with God? How can you re-engage in past spiritual habits you enjoyed?
“Jesus asked: Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35
As I write, I can count on my hands the amazing Christian friends I get to enjoy joking, laughing, and crying with because someone planted seeds into their faith and others walked alongside them teaching even more. We don’t know how God will use us and our conversations with others, but I have seen it happen time and time again, where someone becomes renewed in their love for God due to a simple nudge. Many are already in good soil, they just needed a little more water and the Son.
Do you want to be God’s laborer? Although we are saved by grace, He is seeking workers (Ephesians 2:10). Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of the tasks and people He has laid out for you, and then go harvest. Jesus doesn’t say for us to do it all, just our piece. And pray for God to send more laborers to harvest their portion too.
Please pray with me:
Lord, please send workers for our fields, our businesses, and our ministries. You have a perfect plan laid out for all of us, let us lean into You, relying on the Holy Spirit to nudge us to Your ways. Please don’t allow us to become weary in doing Your work. Thank You for the Believers who have come before us to scatter seeds and water in their ministries, so that we can harvest all the hard work they have already reaped. We love You, gracious Father, Amen.