The Fields Are White for Harvesting
1. What important work is under way?
1 After witnessing to a Samaritan woman, Jesus told his disciples: “Lift up your eyes and view the fields, that they are white for harvesting.” (John 4:35, 36) A spiritual harvest was under way, and Jesus could foresee the worldwide scope of that work. From his position in the heavens, Jesus remains very involved in the harvest. (Matt. 28:19, 20) What indications are there that this work continues to intensify as it moves toward its climax?
2. What developments show that the worldwide harvest work is intensifying?
2 A Global Harvest: During the 2009 service year, there was a 3.2 percent increase in publishers worldwide. Lands where the preaching work is restricted saw a 14 percent increase. The number of home Bible studies reported monthly surpassed 7,619,000—a number greater than the peak of publishers and almost a half million more than the number of studies reported the previous year. As the work rapidly expands in many regions, more requests are received for Gilead-trained missionaries. The foreign-language fields are producing an abundant yield in country after country. It is apparent that Jehovah is speeding up the work during the conclusion of the harvest. (Isa. 60:22) Do you have a positive view of your “fields”?
3. What might some conclude regarding their local harvest?
3 Your Local Harvest: “My territory is not very productive,” some may say. It is true that some territories do not appear to be as productive as others or to be as fruitful as they were in the past. Some Witnesses may therefore conclude that the harvest has peaked in those areas and that now their work is reduced to gleaning a few remaining ones. Is that really the case?
4. What proper attitude toward our ministry should we cultivate, and why?
4 From start to finish, the harvest is a time of intense activity. Notice the sense of urgency in these words of Jesus: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. Therefore, beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Matt. 9:37, 38) Jehovah, the Master of the harvest, is responsible for when and where the yield occurs. (John 6:44; 1 Cor. 3:6-8) What is our assignment? The Bible answers: “In the morning sow your seed and until the evening do not let your hand rest.” (Eccl. 11:4-6) Yes, when the harvest is reaching its climax is not the time to let our hand rest!
5. Why should we continue to preach with zeal in seemingly unproductive territory?
5 Keep Harvesting: Even if our territory has been covered repeatedly and seems unresponsive, there is good reason to work with zeal and a sense of urgency. (2 Tim. 4:2) Dramatic upheavals on the world scene cause people to change their attitude and think more seriously about the future. As youths grow older, they may feel the need to find security and peace of mind. Our persistence may impress still others. Yes, those who have not listened in the past may yet respond. Even those who purposely reject our message need to be warned.—Ezek. 2:4, 5; 3:19.
6. If our territory is challenging, what will help us to maintain zeal?
6 If our territory is challenging, what will help us to maintain zeal? Perhaps we can supplement our house-to-house preaching with other forms of the ministry, such as business or telephone witnessing. Or we could vary our presentation so as to have a fresh approach. We might change our schedule and engage in the ministry in the evening or at other times when people are more likely to be at home. Perhaps we can pursue learning a new language in order to reach more with the good news. We may be able to expand our ministry by regular pioneering. Or we can move to a place where there are fewer harvest workers. If we have the right attitude toward the harvest, we will endeavor to have as full a share as possible in this important work.
7. Until when should we continue in the ingathering work?
7 Farmers have a limited amount of time to gather the crops, so they do not relax or slow down until the work is finished. The spiritual harvest requires the same sense of urgency. Until when should we continue in the ingathering work? Throughout “the conclusion of the system of things” and until “the end.” (Matt. 24:14; 28:20) Like Jehovah’s foremost Minister, we want to finish the work that has been entrusted to us. (John 4:34; 17:4) Let us therefore continue to carry out our ministry with zeal, joy, and a positive attitude until the end. (Matt. 24:13) The harvest is not over!
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From start to finish, the harvest is a time of intense activity