Having a right focus is so important in this day.
Watching the news daily on TV is not such a good focus to have.
Looking to the Lord is the correct focus we all must have.
This lesson shares with us what having a right focus means.
'Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’?
I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!
They are ripe for harvest.
Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true.
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for.
Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
This seemingly irrelevant remark is tacked on, in a sense, to the account of the great miracles of the New Testament.
The Lord miraculously discerned the depth of the Samaritan woman's heart and the details of her past as she came to draw water from the well.
He brought her into a real knowledge of life and salvation.
Because of her testimony, many of the Samaritans came out of the city to see what she was talking about.
They were greatly moved by it and believed in Him.
We will bypass the story itself and consider primarily the little parable that is added on to the story.
Why did Jesus say, "Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white for harvest?"
The disciples probably were passing through certain grain fields, which in the natural would not be ready to harvest for four months.
But He said, "Lift up your eyes and look. The harvest is white already.
The grain is ready to be harvested."
We still do not understand fully how to take the initiative to come into a ministry of worldwide effectiveness in the Kingdom of God.
We do not know our part in it yet.
This little phrase, "Lift up you eyes," is used many times in the New Testament.
At that time, it must have been the idiom of the day.
Since it has been passed down to us by literal translation, we do not fully sense its true meaning.
When He said, "I say, lift up your eyes," He was not talking about lifting them up to take another look at the grain field.
He was talking about an elevation to another realm.
He was telling them to look around and see the reality, to open their hearts to see the spiritual harvest that they were to have.
A person fails to develop a ministry if he continually focuses on a lower realm.
He does not see the golden opportunities around him because he is not looking for them.
His vision is not elevated to the proper realm to see what is happening.
Some people can walk into a room and become aware of certain things.
When visiting a friend's home, some women need to exercise great restraint to avoid putting a pillow in place here, adjusting a chair there, and straightening up the room.
Have you ever seen anyone like that?
Have you been trained that way yourself?
Some people can walk through a room, see what needs to be done, and automatically do it.
Other people can walk through the same room, look right at the job, and never see it.
People are conditioned to look at things differently.
The Lord is telling us to lift up our eyes.
We are focused on the harvest that will come in the future, but He wants us to see the harvest that is ready right now.
We often do not see what other men have done in preparing many hearts.
If we enter into it, the Lord will bless our eyes to see it.
In Proverbs 29:18 we read Where there is no vision, the people perish.
That Scripture is often used by preachers with interpretation that where there is no great vision for worldwide service, the people will die,
Actually, the literal meaning in Hebrew is this:
"Where there is no prophetic vision...."
The Scripture is speaking about the seer-prophet.
In other words, "Where there is no seer-prophet, the people perish."
We yearn for God to raise up people who can walk through a church and see what needs to be done to set it in order.
The spiritual ministries must not be elevated to such a place that the people are not prepared for the alertness and the focus on their own part which opens up the door to spiritual perception.
We should not look at a man to see whether or not he has trimmed his mustache; we should look at him to see what is behind the mustache.
What is his need?
If we look for it, we can find it.
Today the Lord is telling us the same thing that He told the disciples when they came back from the city with food ( John 4:31-34 ).
When they said, "Master, we will give You some food," Jesus was lost in another realm.
He replied, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of."
Had someone brought Him something to eat?
No, for he continued, "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work."
He had something else that He was eating, something else of which He was aware.
Because he was alert to it.
He was living in another realm.
He said, "I always do those things which I see the Father do" ( John 5:19 ) .
He never looked at a man without seeing what the Father was trying to accomplish in that man's life and without trying to help him with it.
Once, when He saw a man coming, He said, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile."
"How do you know me?"
"I saw you when you were sitting under the fig tree."
"Then You must be the Messiah!"
"Do you marvel at this?
You will have your eyes opened.
You will see the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
Other things are happening, about which you know nothing, but if you lift up your eyes and focus upon the Lord, you will start seeing a realm which you have never seen before.
You will become alert to something that did not seem to be thee before" ( John 1:47-51 ) .
Do you want a ministry?
Then begin by lifting up your eyes.
Take your eyes from the low level of the passing scene.
Remove them from the human plane.
Lift your heart a little.
Lift your eyes a little.
If you raise your own spiritual level, you will start seeing things that need to be done and people who need to be met.
You will see what needs to be done in the church.
You will see it, not critically, but in a way that enables you to enter in and do something about it.
The beginning of the ministry of a prophet or a man of God may come through the same type of instruction that Saul received while he was still a gangling youth looking for his father's lost donkeys.
He prepared a small offering for the prophet Samuel and went into the city, asking, "Is the seer here?"
Because Samuel knew that Saul was going to be a king, he had a feast prepared for him.
When Saul met him, Samuel said, "The asses that you are worried about have already been found, and now your father is wondering where to find his son."
Then the prophet continued, "Now today, you will hear the word of the Lord."
Saul just stared.
Samuel said, "Now stand still and I will give you the word of God."
So the lanky youth stood there while Samuel told him what he had seen.
This boy was to be a king.
He was to walk in authority over all of Israel.
He had not seen it before ( I Samuel 9 ) .
Do you see what is in store for you?
Do you know where you are going?
Do you look at your brother and see who he really is?
Lift up your eyes.
Are you waiting for someone to show you, to tell you?
On one occasion Jesus was talking to His disciples, and He said, "Where I go, you know, and the way you know."
Thomas replied, "We do not know where You are going; therefore, how could we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him."
Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." John 14:6-8.
Are you still saying, "Show me, show me?"
Just lift up your eyes.
Open them a little.
Anoint your eyes with eye-salve that you may see ( Revelation 3:18 ) .
Come up to a higher plane of vision.
Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me Philip?
He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, "Show us the Father?"
Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?" John 14:9-10.
What was Jesus saying?
There were people who ate with Him and lived with Him and walked with Him, year in and year out; yet they still did not have a revelation of the Father.
Because they did not open their eyes to see it.
Perhaps above everything else, you need to have the elders lay hands on you, bless you, minister revelation to you, and help you to open your eyes to see what is happening.
Too many people who love the Lord do not have the real vision which they could have if they were not so earthbound in their focus and in their living.
Are you one of them?
Are you so continually occupied with the present scene that you never have a vision or a revelation, that you never look at a person and see the Lord in him?
Do you come to church for a blessing to minister a little life to you, all the time hoping that you will get just enough so that you can go back to live in the realm of your problems?
The man who is concentrated on this life does not do a very good job of achieving anything worthwhile; however, the man who has the vision of a higher realm does a good job in this one too.
A good illustration of this is Daniel.
Three times a day, Daniel opened his window toward Jerusalem to pray.
His enemies passed all kinds of laws against it, but that did not matter.
Even a den of lions could not discourage that practice.
He continued to pray because his focus was, above all, upon the Lord and upon the spiritual realm.
He was on his face seeking God about Jeremiah's prophecy that the exiles would be going back to Jerusalem, to the land from which he had been taken captive when he was about seventeen years old.
Now he was in his nineties, wondering when it would be fulfilled.
Do you understand what type of man Daniel was?
Although he was focused on another realm. he was one of the finest administrators, second in authority only to the king, in one of the largest kingdoms in the world.
Even without any modern facilities of communication, he was still able to rule wisely and to hold the empire together.
He could do all of that because he was focused on the Lord.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and the desires of your heart will be met.
Commit your way unto the Lord, and He will bring it to pass ( Psalm 37:4,5 ) .
Seek first the Kingdom, and the other things will be added ( Matthew 6:33 ) .
Everyone should pray for a higher spiritual level in his walk with God.
You can tell when people suddenly break into it.
They look around to find some way to minister to the house of God.
You are not looking for a thank you, nor are they blind to the need; but they meet it and fulfill it.
The Lord is always trying to lift us up.
Jesus said, "Lord, I want these people to be with Me where I am, in order that they may see My glory" ( John 17:24 ) .
You will not see His glory until you come up to it.
You will not even see the needs of the people, or what God is doing in the Body.
You will not understand anything until your focus is set upon something higher.
Than nothing else matters.
Would you agree that the apostle Paul was one man whose heart was truly focused on the Lord?
Because his focus was set upon the Lord, he was able to see clearly the needs of almost every church.
His epistles are filled with deep insight and perception.
Paul had eyes to see the need.
Was he concerned about the passing scene?
Was he concerned about the economic conditions in Ephesus when he went there to make tents?
Did he worry about how he was going to make a living?
Did he worry about all the robbers on the way?
Did he worry about the perils that he was going to face while doing the will of God?
No, none of this bothered him.
In Acts 28, Luke describes an incident that happened after the shipwreck.
On pieces of the ship, Paul and his companions made their way to shore.
Not one soul had been lost, because God had promised, "I will give you all of them to sail with you."
When they landed on the island, they gathered wood for the fire, and a viper bit Paul.
Can you picture the apostle Paul?
His focus was upon the Lord.
He was rejoicing in the Lord.
He was building a fire for their warmth so that they would not be chilled, or catch a cold or pneumonia.
He was thinking of other people all the time, but his heart was set upon the Lord.
Suddenly a viper came and fastened itself to him.
He did not say, "Now we must rebuke the viper.
Oh dear, the whole work of the Lord will perish because I am bit by a viper!"
It was of no consequence.
He shook it into the fire and went on his way as though nothing happened.
Some of the things that come against you only have validity and a force if you recognize them.
We do not want to think on the human level.
We want to be the sons of God, focusing on the Lord.
We want to be alert to the needs of the Kingdom, rather than our current problems and circumstances.
To us, the wilderness is an area to be passed through and the Canaanites are a problem to be extinguished; but the land is to be possessed for the Lord.
Some people look at the paper dragons that Satan sends and are always fearful, because they do not see the situation as it actually is.
Open your eyes to a new vision.
Open your eyes to something higher.
Then you are not going to be afraid of the vipers that come after you.
Just shake them off.
They are of no consequence at all.
Shrink down your problems and magnify the Lord instead.
You will be surprised by the peace of mind you have over many problems that disturb you deeply right now.
They are of no consequence when you walk in the heavenly realm.