Harvest of the Heart

I’ve been talking about loving our Samaritans. I believe God is prophetically calling us to our Samaritans right now. The “Samaritans” are the “them” in the “us vs. them” polarized world we live in. They’re on the other side of our politics; they’re the people we think deserve God’s judgment. But the truth is, Jesus loves the people we hate. He also loves the people who hate us.

The church has typically responded to our “Samaritans” like James and John in Luke 9:53-55. We want God to call fire down on these “wicked Samaritans” like Elijah did! Sadly, we hear this a lot today, Christians using the Old Testament Scripture to judge people we don’t like as if Jesus never happened.

Beloved, if our hearts aren’t right toward people, or if we think they’re a target of our evangelistic efforts, or worse, they’re the enemy, THEY KNOW IT! People know when you don’t love them, when you’re being disingenuous, when you’re judging them. You don’t have to say a word! You’re already communicating clearly!

On that note, I would like to continue the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42). She has an encounter with Jesus at the well, we read the following reaction:

28 All at once, the woman left her water jar and ran off to her village and told everyone, 29 “Come and meet a man at the well who told me everything I’ve ever done! He could be the One we’ve been waiting for.” 30 Hearing this, the people came streaming out of the village to go see Jesus. (John 4:28-30 TPT)

My question here is this: What compelled this woman to tell everyone in her city about Jesus? And why did the people respond to her testimony?

Was it Jesus’ clever argument? Did He prove to her that He had the correct theology? The right political view? Of course, the answer is no. That would be absurd. But my question is, why do we think this is an effective way to convince people?

To dig deeper into this question, let’s look at Jesus’ response:

35 As the crowds emerged from the village, Jesus said to his disciples, “Why would you say, ‘The harvest is another four months away’? Look at all the people coming—now is harvest time! Their hearts are like vast fields of ripened grain—ready for a harvest. (John 4:35 TPT*)

I love how The Chosen TV Series depicts Jesus’ conversation with this woman about true worship (see John 4:21-24) and her response as follows:

Woman: “You mean it won’t be about mountains or Temples anymore?”
Jesus: “Soon, just the heart…”
Woman: “You promise?”
Jesus: “I promise”

At that point, she leaves her waterpot and runs off to the village to tell everyone! You can watch the scene here:

I think this is something we’ve forgotten (or never learned in the first place). As I’ve said before many times, everything begins and ends with the heart. We believe with the heart (Rom.10:10); we’re to worship God with the heart (John 4:21), and it’s the condition of our heart that determines the course of our life (Prov.4:23).

Yet, we evangelicals have reduced Christianity to theology, receiving everything with our heads, thinking we know something. But where has this head-knowledge world has gotten us? And this kind of living has also affected our society as a whole. We’ve flattened our world down to the limitations of our finite earthbound thinking. It’s this kind of knowledge only makes us sick in our soul—divisive, arrogant, and unteachable.

But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. (1 Cor.8:1b-2 NIV*)

Listen to what Solomon, considered the wisest man, said about head-knowledge.

16 I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
    the more knowledge, the more grief. (Eccl.1:16-18 NIV*)

The truth is, we will learn nothing whatsoever from God with only our head. Spiritual knowledge requires spiritual discernment, which requires an open heart to receive it by faith. We believe first, then we see…

14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. (1 Cor.2:14 NIV*)

This is also why it’s absolutely pointless to argue with someone about the things of God who has a closed heart, whether their religious or an atheist. It doesn’t matter. A closed heart means a closed mind. It’s always in that order. Faith is always a matter of the heart.

So, what can we learn from this woman’s response to Jesus?

First, we encounter God, not through our head, but with an open heart. Then our head will understand what our heart already knows. This is universaly true, by the way. We convince ourselves of something for emotional reasons, then we justify our decision with logic afterward. Every good salesperson knows this.

Our heart is also fickle and duplicitous, if we’re not honest with our own motives. This is where the Living Word can help us (see Heb.4:12). We let the Bible study us so our heart stays healthy and teachable.

Nonetheless, the heart is the gateway to everything, so it must come first.

Second, the key to the harvest is through the heart, not the head. But it must start with our hearts. This is why I think God has been using the pandemic to upgrade our thinking, to reset our perspective and priorities, to reset our hearts so that we will look again at how Jesus interacted with people and do that. Just saying.

* All emphasis added.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 40 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
This entry was posted in Father Heart of God, Grace, Love, Reformation and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Harvest of the Heart

  1. Sweet, Mel! Very timely, too.

  2. Pingback: Mel’s ”Harvest of the Heart” | See, there's this thing called biology...

  3. Tom Salmon says:

    @Mel

    Excellent post! I would just like to add a different perspective, one your own blog addresses from time-to-time.

    How should Christians treat the Samaritans, the unsaved? Because we all begin the life as one of the unsaved, it is something of a conundrum. The Great Commission tells us to bring the Gospel to the unsaved, but Jesus told us that we cannot actually save anyone. We don’t change hearts. God does that in His own way and in His own good time.

    God saves us with His grace, not our works. Paul’s story serves as a great illustration. Few can point to anything so dramatic as being knocked off our mount by a dazzlingly, bright light and hearing the voice of God, but each of us experiences a change of heart, whether we can point to “that moment,” or not.

    So, what do with do with those who have yet to experience “that moment” of God’s grace? We must love and pray for the unsaved, but some judgement is unavoidable. Some of the unsaved are just plain evil. Consider these passages as examples.

    — Matthew 7:6 speaks of dogs and swine.
    — In the parable of the Good Shepherd, which at the beginning of John 10, Jesus speaks of protecting the flock from thieves. As Psalm 23 observes, the Good Shepherd protects his sheep with both His rod and His staff.
    — 1 – 3 John speak of anti-christs. John makes it clear we should have nothing to do with such.

    Sometimes we have to ostracize certain Samaritans.

    • Mel Wild says:

      What I’m suggesting is that we don’t get in the way by alienating our “Samaritans,” and that we follow Jesus’ example. This requires that we get our own hearts right first (Matt.7:1-5). As Paul said, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” (1 Cor.5:12)

      What’s interesting about the dogs and swine, and all who Jesus ostracized, is that they were all religious people. In Matthew 7 (swine), He’s speaking directly to the Pharisees. They showed no grace, they were pretentious, and their religion was hypocritical virtue-signalling, to use today’s venacular. The anti-Christs that John is talking about were also religious people—the Gnostics, etc. Again, religion without genuine relationship and intimacy with Jesus. This is why we are told to test the spirits, to see if they are of God (John 4). And we know someone knows God if they express other-centered love like He loves (1 John 4:1-8). Again, not talking about sinners.

      But you don’t ever see Jesus treating sinners this way. He treated those who were open with grace and ignored those who weren’t interested. This was what the parables brought out. Only those who pursued Him got the answers to the parables. Jesus never tried to moralize the sinners.

      But I do believe we can push back on ideologies and anything that exalts itself on the knowledge of God (2 Cor.10:3-5), but we must always separate the ideology from the people who may embrace them. They are deceived, like we were at one time. We are to love them, sometimes at a distance if necessary, and if given the opportunity, we demonstrate God’s love to them like Jesus did. If their heart is open, they will see what we see and believe. If their heart is not open, we move on.

  4. Love this Mel! Right on the mark! I’ve been away for a while fighting cancer with Chemo and Radiation that I’ve missed a lot of great teaching and inspiration. Praise the Lord, I’m doing better and ready to get back to doing the Lord’s bidding! Great, great article and much needed! God bless for this!!

  5. Dawn Marie says:

    Hugs to you for sharing your heart with us – my own joyfully resonates with what you have written. 💕💗💕

  6. Pingback: Entering into a cooperative process with Jesus | In My Father's House

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