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How to Have 2020 Vision in This Strange Time

"In spite of efforts to shut down or constrict ministry, online prayer gatherings petition the Father daily, many lasting for hours. Former mockers show up to limited church gatherings."

     Every morning I take a walk in the city and pass a spot where I can see a massive field of grain. As I top a hill it’s there. My entire vision fills with gold. Day by day whiter, riper, full of grain almost ready to be harvested.
     It takes me back to those sticky walks with my dad into wheat fields tempting to be cut. My dad, his round belly stretching the bib on his OshKosh B’Gosh overalls, would break off a head from the stalk, rub it between his fingers and pop a kernel in his mouth, testing it for ripeness with a chew. Gluten free hadn’t been invented yet.
     As the panorama of whitening fields met my eyes this morning, a verse so clear it could have been inscribed across the scene collided with the 2020 turmoil rolling in my mind and pressing in my heart. It wrote itself over ugly television images and news headlines.
     “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35 (NIV)
     They are ripe for harvest. Open your eyes. Jesus’ words came to his disciples in an uncomfortable over their border spot. While most Jews skirted Samaria, taking longer routes to avoid the half-Jew, half-Gentile population, Jesus, not only insisted in going through the region, but also stopping there for a rest. He was tired, hungry and thirsty. A Samaritan woman came to get water, and Jesus engaged in conversation with her, breaking even more rules, shocking her and the disciples.
     I don’t have to remind you how unmoored we’ve become in 2020 with Covid-19, unrest, violence, division and politics. What is happening? How will this end? What is to become of our world? With all the scary stuff happening outside my walls, I am tempted to close my eyes and hunker down in despair. But the fields are ripe for harvest.
     “…open your eyes…”  Kingdom work and farm work parallel in so many ways. Jesus referenced  farming on different occasions linking them together. Farmers get antsy the weeks leading up to harvest, because the grain is their lifeline. Ministers of Jesus’ gospel are passionate to plant seed where their feet take them.
     In the mission’s world of which I’m a part, we look for a harvest. Nations all over the globe are experiencing a pandemic upheaval like one giant ball of misery.
     While many in our country complain of too much time, food and inconvenience, focus grows inward, stuck in 2020 vision, while fields are whitening.
     “…look at the fields!” In spite of efforts to shut down or constrict ministry, online prayer gatherings petition the Father daily, many lasting for hours. Former mockers show up to limited church gatherings. Stories of entire families coming to Christ during these months pour in from workers overseas. Conversions spawn baptisms. Bible studies fly off online shelves. The church without doors is alive.
     It’s not a time for myopic vision. Now is the time to look beyond what we see to impact what our 2020 vision can’t yet see. The best way not give in to Covid-Unrest-Political-fatigue and despair is to open my eyes and look at the fields. We live in a ripe world. Outside my walls people cry for so many things, but only Jesus can provide for the needs of a heart. 
     “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35 (NIV) This is 2020 vision.

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