A 50 year old woman B.J. and her male friend in his 20’s were sent to my Gospel station at the FCF tent at the Expo in Moultrie Ga. As I shared the Gospel according to the colored beads, B.J. listened intently and the young man began to tell me that he was of the Baha’i Faith and I realized he was not ‘ripe and ready’. So I turned my attention to B.J. and ask her the simple question, ‘If you died today, do you know that you would go to heaven?” She shook her head no and her eyes dropped. I got her attention and asked, “Would you like to know today that you are forgiven?” Tears began to stream down her face and she nodded yes. I prayed with her as she gave her life to Christ and we rejoiced. B.J.’s soul was ‘ripe and ready’!

 

When a harvest is ‘ripe and ready’, all you have to do is gently touch it or tug it and it falls into your hand. Some of my favorite memories as a child were gathering wild blackberries and plums on the side of South Georgia dirt roads with my Mama, brother and sister. Even better was the jelly and jams Mama made. We also gathered wild muscadines, strawberries and blueberries. The one thing they all had in common was when they were good and ripe, all you had to do was gently tug them with your fingers and they would fall-off into your hands. So, the harvest is often by gentle touch, being careful not to try and harvest before the fruit is ripe and ready. If the stem is not tender and ready to release the fruit, the fruit is probably needs to wait a little longer.  Every time I read Jesus words in John 4:35 “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”, I also think about I Peter 3:15 “..always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,..”, Romans 2:4, “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” And, Matthew 12:20, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,..”.

 

As we walk through life, God’s Spirit blesses us by arranging face-to-face encounters with souls ‘ripe and ready’ for harvest. We need to be filled with not only the boldness of the Spirit but also the Spiritual grace and kindness to reach out with gentleness and respect because so many souls are bruised reeds. When God touches them with the Gospel in our words, the fruit of their souls that are ‘ripe and ready’ will be touched with Divine hands and fall into God’s arms. Redeemed!

 

John Eubanks

Co-Pastor

Friendship Alliance Church

Moultrie Ga