As I was growing up, this was a popular saying: We have all of the time in the world. Of course, it simply means that there is no rush, no hurry. We can do whatever we want. We can take our time and slow down. We have nothing that we need to be concerned about at this point.
Louis Armstrong, as it turns out, even solidified this saying into a song that became a theme for a 007 James Bond movie. Just for fun, here is that song. I think it even appropriately sounds like the sentiment itself:
Jesus pointed out to his disciples that they had a similar saying in their day and in their culture. The Samaritans from the town of Sychar had heard about Jesus from his “chance” meeting with the woman at the well and many of them were coming out from the town to the well to meet Jesus and see if his claim to be the Messiah could actually be true.
As the people were on their way, Jesus was speaking to his disciples and said to them:
Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’?John 4:35
Jesus is quoting a proverb to them from their culture. He’s saying that they are essentially saying:
There is no need to hurry!
We have plenty of time!
The harvest isn’t for another four months…
…You can’t do anything about it anyway. The grain just needs to grow.
But then Jesus immediately follows up this retelling of the proverb with a rebuke of this mentality. Instead of thinking, “We have all the time in the world” or “It’s still four months until harvest”, they should instead be thinking:
I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.John 4:35
Jesus is saying that there is urgency to this task. Get going! The fields are ripe for harvest and we are just sitting here.
Jesus wants his disciples to realize that there is work that has been done, and is continuing to be done amongst the people. Seeds have been sown. God’s work is going forward. It is his work, and now it is time to bring in his harvest.
Cruise Boat or Battleship
I have a friend who used to say that we, as the church, need to decide whether we are cruise boat or a battleship.
What was he saying?
The point to his statement was that the church can see itself as a nice place where we have received the blessing of God and enjoy one another in a nice environment. We can relax. We don’t really need to do anything. We’re forgiven, right? We can sort of just cruise our way into heaven.
Or, on the other hand, we can see ourselves as a battleship. We can not only say that we are ready, but we can train. We can prepare – theologically, practically, and in any other way that is needed… and then we can go to war.
Our war is a war of love for the people around us and a desire for God to receive glory for who he is and what he has done for us.
It is time for God’s people to decide. The church must come alive and come out of its stupor to realize that God made us to be a “battleship” of sorts. He intended that we go into the enemy’s territory and take people from him and back into peace and reconciliation with God. Will we complete the role that God has given to us? Will we be the ambassadors that Christ has intended us to be?
Or will we continue to slumber and cruise along because we have all the time in the world?