“Wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest“ (John 4:35).
In the story of the woman at the well, the disciples saw Jesus speaking to a Samaritan woman. They were confused and shocked as to why He would speak to her. In short, His answer was because He was doing the will of His Father.
Today, people look at Vacation Bible School leaders and say, “Why are you doing VBS?” In short, our answer is because we are doing the will of the Father.
Here are just four reasons we do VBS:
- Because God has called us to share His love with men, women, boys and girls. God has called us to spread His love, telling people about Him everywhere: “…in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Everywhere includes right outside our backdoor. It means our neighbors and communities.
- Because there is a “crop” that needs to be planted. There is a crop of men, women, boys and girls who need to hear about the love of the Father, and VBS is one of the best ways to tell them. During VBS, people of all ages will hear the Word of God, will see His love in action and will have the opportunity to respond.
- Because in years past, others planted – and now those seeds are ripe and ready for harvest. Someone else did the work of planting. It is now our job to gather the harvest. Those who plant do not always get to see the results of their labor, but we know that God will send others to come behind us and water and care for those seeds. VBS leaders across our communities, states and countries around the world plant many thousands of seeds in the hearts of men, women, boys and girls – and at just the right time, which often is during VBS, those seeds become ripe and ready for harvest.
- Because of the joy it brings to do the will of the Father. “What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike” (John 4:36b). The work of VBS might be time consuming and our resources few, but the reward is great. The joy of seeing people of all ages come to Christ is priceless.
As we read the close of the story about the woman who came to the well and met Jesus, we see she “left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone” (John 4:28). Because of her excitement, because of the obvious visual change in her, “many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus” (John 4:39). This is why we do VBS: because through VBS we see lives changed.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields’” (Matthew 9:36-38).
This year may we find plenty of workers willing to go, showing compassion on those who do not know and have not heard about the love of the Father. Let us introduce them to Jesus through Vacation Bible School.
Scripture references above are from the New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation.
State Missionary Patty Burns serves as Vacation Bible School strategist in the Office of Sunday School and Discipleship. She may be contacted at (334) 613-2312, firstname.lastname@example.org.