“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”
Harvest is here. As a farmer’s wife, I have been given a directive by Farmer Jay that when I am out and about I am to return with a crop report. The other day as I was driving into town I saw combines everywhere. For those of you who are city folk or non Mid westerners, a combine is huge machine used to harvest grain crops in our case corn and soybeans. It was a beautiful day and the farmers were hard at work reaping the fruits of their labors. From what my husband Farmer Jay had told me the yields are some of the best ever.
But the workers are few. Things have changed in the last fifty years. Our nation used to be a farm based nation until after World War II when folks moved to the city in droves. Back in the stone ages when I was in high school half of the kids in my class lived and worked on farms. Today, in my youngest daughter’s class there are only two or three kids who live on working farms. Back then when it was time to bale hay the whole wrestling team would turn out help put the square bales on racks and in the hay mow in the barn- which is a hard workout on a hot, humid Iowa summer day! Today, farmers bale large round bales and the wrestling team isn’t needed and most kids don’t want to work that hard in the heat even if the work was available. Then most young men could run a tractor and knew how to do farm work. Today, many young people think the milk they drink comes from the grocery store. Twenty first century farmers use huge equipment and fewer laborers so finding extra help for harvest can be a challenge. The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.
When God put on skin and condescended to come to our little planet and hang out with us earthlings he oftentimes told agriculture related stories to teach us heavenly meanings. Sometimes they involved plants and sometimes animals because he knew most of the people would understand the meaning of these messages. Please let me clarify something, a particular occupation that will remain unnamed is often referred to as the oldest occupation on earth. Now if you are atheist or agnostic, you can buy that line if you wish. But if you claim to follow Jesus Christ, you must agree with me here, that it is not. It clearly states in Genesis chapter three verse eighteen that after the fall of man that farming is the oldest occupation: “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food….” There were no super markets back then; so everyone farmed. Everyone had to sow and everyone had to harvest in order to eat, so that made first people farmers.
The passage in Matthew, which is also found in Luke ten, isn’t referring to a harvest of corn or soybeans, but to a harvest of souls; hurting, hungry lost and searching souls that are looking for the answers to life in all the wrong places. Listen to Jesus words from Matthew in verse thirty six,” When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.’” And guess what happened next. He sent them out to “heal every disease and sickness.” (Matthew 10:1b) and in Luke he told them to be “like lambs among wolves.” (Luke 10:3). He sent them with nothing so they wouldn’t depend on their jobs, or pastor or cell phone or good looking donkey to give them confidence or credibility, but God alone. Jesus is God with skin on so he knows men’s hearts and it is a tough and ugly world out there, lots of wolves, but Jesus sent them out like lambs, humble, peaceful and sacrificial. I would imagine at first they weren’t very good at it, but they had to begin where they were and so must we.
It is no different today, the harvest is still plentiful, and the workers are still few. Many of us go to church to get our buckets refilled and be better folks, and we should. But we must do more with what we get than just sit on it. Just like the disciples we are called to go out as lambs among wolves and to heal every disease and sickness. And I gotta just ask the question, “Why wouldn’t we?” If we eat at a great new restaurant or see a movie we love or read a good book, we tell just about everyone we meet about it, might even post it on social media. But when we put our faith and trust in Christ we tend to keep it to ourselves. Don’t want to rub anybody the wrong way. What’s up with that? Don’t we have compassion on the hurting, helpless and harassed crowds in our lives? Do we hate our friends and neighbors and family members that much that we don’t care if they spend the rest of their lives lost and hurting or worse eternity in hell separated from not only us but the light of Christ? Don’t we care enough to share the love, healing and light of Jesus Christ? The harvest is plentiful, the workers are few.
I have come to the conclusion that the most important thing I do is to share what Christ has done and continues to do in my life with anyone who will listen, because I want to take as many people to heaven with me as I can. I use the attraction method. I attempt to be the light by sharing what I have been freely given: love, forgiveness truth and grace and I try to do it right where I am whether I am in a grocery line, at a cross country meet, in my home, on the street, in the coffee shop or training a client. I think that is what Christ meant here, go out and love where you are while depending on God, not stuff or self. And like the old song says, “they will know we are Christians by our love.” And here is my two cents; you can’t give away what you ain’t got. It’s hard to love yourself in a healthy way if you don’t love God and you will never love your neighbor (not the nice one but the difficult one) if you don’t love God.
There are a lot of hurting folks just outside your front door and if you claim to follow Christ we must love on them, right now, today. My experience has been when I love folks right where they are, offer to pray for and with them, bring up God in conversation and give my time to serve them I find they are receptive and eager to receive, staved for the truth really. Rare is the person who turns me down when I offer to pray with them. But I have got to have the guts to offer. Spiritual sickness is rampant and we must step outside our comfort zones and love, right where we are, there is no time to lose. Lives, earthy and eternal are depending on it.
The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Be joy filled always,