It’s not that there isn’t a harvest…
It’s easy for us to think that the reason we don’t see a lot of people coming to Christ is because they just aren’t there to harvest. I know a lot of people who think they’d love to see people come to Christ, but they’re just not out there. And that’s a pretty easy cop out. Problem is, it’s not true.
They called on God to send out reinforcements.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Matt 9:36-38)
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off (Acts 13:2-3).
When we look at the harvest the early church reaped, when we look at the kind of following Jesus had, when we look at the effectiveness of Paul – we see that there was a tremendous harvest for them to reap. There are countries in the world where the gospel is advancing at a record pace. And there are churches in our country that are seeing thousands of people come to Christ.
The problem isn’t that there isn’t a harvest. The problem isn’t that there isn’t a harvest to reap. The problem is that the workers are few.
“Now wait just a minute!” You may reply. “I would be ready to harvest at a moments notice, if there was something to harvest.” That may be the case. Maybe. But are you really ready and willing to do the work required? Do you know what harvest time is really like? It’s not like it is today, even though today, it’s still a lot of work. When they would pick the harvest in Jesus time, it would take many, many workers, many, many days to bring in the harvest. They didn’t have combines and implements or tractors. Actual human beings had to do the work.
The idea of workers being few is true. I think there really is a harvest of people who are ready to come to Christ. The problem is our view of what the harvest is. There are many who are ready to come to Christ, but we view the harvest as a prayer and not a process. We think that we should be able to go up to a person that we know or don’t know and pray a prayer with them and bring them into the barn. But there is more to it than that.
We need workers who are ready to invest in the lives of those who are ready. Just because the harvest is ready doesn’t mean we won’t have to do work to bring it in. Just because the harvest is ready doesn’t mean it won’t take time and intentionality to reap it. If it wasn’t going to be work, Jesus would have said he needed people to pray a prayer with someone instead of asking the Lord of the harvest to send out workers in his harvest. Yes, it involves prayer, and yes we need to pray for that specifically. We need to pray and ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.
Possibly just as importantly, we need to be willing to be workers. Maybe we need help and training in what it means to be a worker. Maybe we’ve never harvested grain before, and we need someone to walk alongside us as we figure it out. Maybe we need to pray for ideas of how to invest in the people in our 8 to 15 whom God has place there for us. Maybe we need to pray for boldness to share the salt of grace and truth in our conversations with them.
Whatever the case may be, the problem isn’t that there aren’t people who are ready to come to Christ. It’s more likely that we are the problem and aren’t bold and brave enough to be the workers God has called us to be. For those of you who are doing this already – Thank God for who you are and what you already do. May we all learn from the lives you lead. Father, send us out – workers into your harvest!
The Three for Morning, Afternoon and Evening.
“Now for Next” Prayer
What do we need to do now as a church to be ready for what God has for us next.
“What’s My Role” Prayer
Pray for God to show us the role we will play individually in accomplishing that mission.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.