Friday, November 26, 2010
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They call it "Jubilee" and it appears to be unique to one place in the United States: Mobile Bay near Mobile, Alabama. They say it happens on a night after an overcast day with an east wind. And for some unexplained reason, the creatures at the bottom of the bay suddenly become starved for oxygen. As the tide rises, they're virtually beached in their search for some water that will meet their need for oxygen. Suddenly, somewhere between midnight and dawn, there they are, within your reach: crabs, shrimp, flounder, catfish. It's seafood for the taking! People who live along the bay know there's no time to get ready for this opportune moment; you always have to be ready. And there they are, with their baskets and lanterns and tubs always near the door. When it's Jubilee time, folks run out to the edge of the water to collect the bounty that is suddenly within their reach. It's enough to enjoy all year long sometimes. And when this incredible moment of opportunity suddenly comes rolling in, people all along the shore shout that exciting word that makes people drop everything - "Jubilee!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Greatest Opportunities of Your Life."
Jubilee is a short-lived season of opportunity when the harvest is within your reach. When the tide recedes, your opportunity is over. You and I may very well be living in our own Jubilee and not even realize it; a time to bring in a harvest that we can enjoy for all eternity. People we know who can be in heaven with us forever if we seize the moment to introduce them to our Jesus.
Jesus' disciples were about to miss just such a moment in John 4:35, our word for today from the Word of God They were with Jesus among the Samaritans, a group of people who seemed unlikely candidates to ever come to Christ. The disciples had gone into this Samaritan town for groceries. Jesus' associates were so caught up in getting lunch they had no thought of getting some lives to heaven. In the meantime, Jesus had turned the heart of a Samaritan woman to faith in Him, and her testimony to her fellow villagers suddenly opened their hearts to check out Jesus. They were, by a work of God, surprisingly and suddenly ready for Jesus. As they were streaming out of the village toward Jesus and His disciples, Jesus gave this wakeup call to His followers, then and now, "Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." In other words, "They're ready for Me, guys. Don't just stand there! Help Me bring them in!"
If you belong to Him, He's saying that to you. In your circle of influence, He's got some people ready for Him. You can't see it; they don't know it, but God has been doing things in their life to prepare them to hear about Jesus. And He's counting on you to open a conversation about Him while this moment of opportunity is here. In the words of Colossians 4:3-4, "Pray that God may open a door for our message...make the most of every opportunity." You can pray that God will make ready people you care about. He'll do His part. But in a very significant way, you are their chance!
You've got to be ready at all times to seize any opportunity that God gives you to talk about the difference Jesus makes. As God's hand-picked ambassador to the people you know, you need to go into each day looking for opportunities to help someone learn about your Jesus. And we need to be telling other believers that it's "Jubilee" time. We've got a brief opportunity to bring people in our area home to Jesus.
It's time to do whatever it takes to bring in the people that Jesus died to rescue because Jesus keeps doing things to get them ready for Him. He's trusting you to go after the harvest, not sleep through it. The opportunities to help people be in heaven with you are the greatest opportunities of your life. It's time to drop everything and run to the harvest. Jesus is calling to you, "It's Jubilee!"