Picking Summer Fruit

By Ken Whitten

I heard about a farmer who had a cuckoo clock that went off faithfully sounding the hour of the day and night. One morning, to the farmer’s wife’s dismay, the clock began to cuckoo 17 times. In a panic, the wife woke up and said to her husband, “Honey, honey, wake up, it’s later than it’s ever been.”

When it comes to evangelism, I think it might just be later than it’s ever been. One day after an encounter with the Samaritan woman in John 4, Jesus told His disciples – “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.”

Jesus knew the problem was not the ripeness of the field, but the blindness of the farmer.

When it comes to evangelism, soul-winning and kingdom growing, the question is not – Is there an opportunity? But rather – Will we seize the opportunity? Someone has said there are four things that never return. The word that is spoken, the bullet that is fired, the life that is past and the opportunity that is neglected.

Jesus never missed an opportunity, and we shouldn’t either. Whether it was Nicodemus in John 3 or the woman at the well in John 4; one a man, the other a woman; one a Jew, the other a Samaritan; one a pious guy, the other a party girl. But what Jesus knew was this, both were empty and thirsty and in need of a Savior.

This summer, no doubt you and I will cross paths with people who are the same – empty and thirsty, and in need of the gospel. Notice the words of our Lord in John 4 – “Look…” He expects us to see something. May I suggest three things we’ll see if we will look.

1. See the need.

This woman is thirsty. So are our friends who need Jesus. We must be willing to be inconvenienced. She has a prejudice she must get over. She has a national, personal, and spiritual prejudice she must overcome. Notice how Jesus engages her.

He interests her in a deeper conversation. He knows two things. She has a thirst problem. She has a theology problem. So does your friend.

She’s dirty, thirsty and she’s needy. He invites her to talk theology. All theology is is a discussion about God. What she needs is a Savior, not a lecturer. Talk to people about Jesus. They may want to distract and redirect the conversation with questions like – “Where did Cain get his wife?” Just say, “Listen, let’s not worry about Cain’s wife. If he’s happy with her, so am I.”

2. See the nature.

She’s not just thirsty, she’s dirty. So how does Jesus break the ice? He not only interests her, He includes her in a deeper conversation. When you witness, include them in your discussion. Make it a two-way conversation. Jesus is very sensitive here. He is keenly aware of her disappointment, disillusionment, disgrace, divorce, abuse and adultery. Lost people are slaves to their sin and their sorrow. Include your story into their story.

3. See the now.

Jesus not only interests her and includes her, but He invites her to a deeper conversation. We will see people change right before our very eyes. She starts off calling Him a Jew, then a Prophet and finally the Christ.

When we are willing to be inconvenienced and willing to get our hands dirty, great soul-winning conversations happen.

Interest them? Yes

Include them? Absolutely

But at some point, invite them to take a drink from Bethlehem’s well that will satisfy eternally.

Jesus said, “The fields are white…now.” Yes, it’s later than it’s ever been. This summer look and see the fields. You, too, will see the thirsty, the dirty, and the needy. Interest them, include them, but also invite them. Jesus did, and so can we.

Fast forward to Acts 8 when the Samaritan Revival broke out. Do you know who the catalyst was for that revival? You guessed it – this woman. Let’s pick summer fruit. The fields are ready. Are you?

Published May 30, 2018

Ken Whitten

Ken Whitten is the Pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida. Idlewild Baptist Church was among the top 100 evangelistic churches in the country in 2014.