When I consider the word ripe, I think of that which is ready, that which has reached its point of maturity. One of the great challenges that we have in the church today is that we have not learned how to distinguish between that which is ripe with that which is not yet ready.
I didn’t grow up on a farm, I didn’t grow up learning how to tend to a field of crops. And because of this, I feel that I am a little bit unprepared for the reality of what it means to be a part of the kingdom of God. Our pastor, Bishop Luis R. Scott, tells us that we live in an agricultural system. We live in a world where the principles of seedtime and harvest are in operation. Where seasons come and go.
Jesus even told His disciples after his encounter with the woman at the well, that God is looking for laborers who will go into the field. Why? Because the fields are ripe unto harvest. Jesus was revealing to his disciples that there was something in them (and us!) that has a difficult time seeing when something, spiritually speaking, has finally come to maturity. We would like to think that we know how to help others become what Jesus wants. But the reality is not so easy.
We all could be more effective in connecting and interacting with this world. In determining when someone is ready to go from attendance and participate in discipleship and fellowship. And from these into ministry of some form. not necessarily formally, but within the context of who God has made them to be.
If we cannot tell when something is ripe, how will we know when we must act? I think the challenge of the season of Lent is we are challenged to look back and to see if have we truly been growing ourselves? Are we ready? Are we ready to become laborers in this field? Ready to bring in the harvest that Jesus said is right in front of us.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be a better laborer in the vineyard.