“HARVEST TIME”

Wayne S. Walker

“Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to
harvest” (Jn. 4.35)

     INTRO.:  A gospel song which encourages us to look on the fields
that are white to harvest is “Harvest Time” (#404 in “Hymns for Worship
Revised” and #511 in “Sacred Selections for the Church”).  The text was
written by Mary Brown.  No further information about her is available,
but she may well be the same Mary Brown to whom credit is given for the
first stanza of the song “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go,” beginning,
“It may not be on the mountain’s height, Or over the stormy sea….”

     The tune was composed by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932).  He
was a prolific gospel songwriter of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, one
of whose best known songs is probably “O That Will Be Glory.”  The
earliest date given for “Harvest Time” in 1892.  However, many books say
that it was copyrighted by the Gospel Advocate Co. in 1931, which would
be a likely renewal date, but some newer books say that it was renewed by
the Gospel Advocate Co. in 1959.

     The song urges each Christian to help out in reaping the Lord’s
harvest.

I. Stanza 1 emphasizes the call
“Arise!  The Master calls for thee, The harvest days are here!  No longer
sit with folded hands, But gather far and near.
The noble ranks of volunteers Are daily growing everywhere, But still
there’s work for millions more!  Then for the fields prepare.”
  A. Jesus calls us to participate in the harvest, which here refers to
the reaping of souls: Matt. 9.37-38
  B. Therefore, we should not sit or stand idle but go to work in his
harvest: Matt. 20.1-7
  C. The field in which He has called us to labor is the world: Matt.
10.38

II. Stanza 2 emphasizes the need
“Go seek the lost and erring ones Who never knew the Lord; Go lead them
from the ways of sin, And thou shalt have reward.
Go out into the hedges where The careless drift upon the tide, And from
the highways bring them in–Let no one be denied.”
  A. We need to be involved in this work because many are lost, like the
sheep who went astray, and need to be sought: Lk. 15.4-7
  B. We also need to be involved in this work because the Lord has a
reward for us if we thus serve Him by serving others: Matt. 25.34-40
  C. Hence, we should go out into the hedges and the highways and bring
the lost in to the Lord: Lk. 14.16-23

III. Stanza 3 emphasizes the means
“The message bear to distant lands Beyond the rolling sea; Go tell them
of a Savior’s love–The Lamb of Calvary.
Arise!  The Master calls for thee!  Salvation full and free proclaim,
‘Til every kindred, tribe, and tongue Exalt the Savior’s name!”
  A. We have the message of the gospel that is to be preached to all
nations under heaven: Mk. 16.15-16
  B. This message tells of the Savior’s love shown by His death on
Calvary: Rom. 5.8
  C. As a result, the gospel message can bring about salvation to everyone
who accepts it: Rom. 1.16-17

     CONCL.:  The chorus continues the thought of the stanzas about the
importance of working for the Lord and getting busy as soon as possible:
“Arise!  Arise!  The Master calls for thee; Arise!  Arise!  A faithful
reaper be.  Arise!
The field is white, and days are going by; Awake, awake, And answer,
‘Here am I.'”
This is not the easiest song to sing because it requires alto, tenor, and
bass singers who know what they are doing.  But it has been in most
hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use among
churches of Christ during the twentieth century, and  thus is reasonably
well known.  It serves a very useful purpose in waking each of us up to
the fact that we need to be laboring diligently for the Lord in His
“Harvest Time.”

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