Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. John 4:35
Growing up in a Christian home, I knew that I was supposed to love my neighbors. I understood this love wasn’t simply an emotion, but rather that I was to do for others, showing them God’s love. So, occasionally, I would pray for the opportunity to do so. God, if there is something you want me to do for someone today, put them in my path and make it obvious. If no one came up to me that day asking for help, well, then, I just didn’t have the opportunity to love anyone. I was a lazy lover of God’s people.
In today’s passage, Jesus must have encountered a similar mindset in his disciples. In the story, Jesus told them that he found spiritual nourishment in doing God’s will. He told them not to wait for the opportunity to do God’s work, but to go out and find it, because opportunity was all around them. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.
In recovery from my own addiction, I came to see what I was unable or unwilling to see previously. There are those all around me in need of recovery. Even before I was addicted, I had little motivation to help the addict. Then, in my own addiction, I was useless to them. Now, in recovery though, it’s obvious to me that I’m supposed to do what I can to help those God puts in my path.
I don’t wait for those in need to show up on my doorstep though. I go to jail. I go to treatment centers. I go where I know those in need will be. If I wait for them to come to me, I’m being a lazy lover of God’s people, which is really just an excuse to do nothing.
There is need all around us. We just need to open our eyes. If we wait for others to come to us, we’re being lazy, choosing disobedience. As Jesus commanded his disciples, we must seek out those in need. As God has loved us, we must love others. For the Christian, this is not optional. This is what it means to follow Christ.