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. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’
Matthew 9:36-38 (NIV)
Read: Matthew 9
Consider: It’s that time of year when churches in the UK (and perhaps elsewhere) have a harvest service to thank God for the material harvest. I heard recently of a church that decided not to hold a traditional harvest service, but what it called an ‘urban harvest’ service. This was a service where the church members were encouraged to bring along non-perishable foodstuffs and tins of food to present during the service, but later for these to be distributed to local food banks.
When Jesus spoke to his disciples about harvest (Matthew 9), he was not thinking of a material harvest, but rather a spiritual harvest of souls. When he looked at the crowd he had compassion on them as he saw their true state before God (like sheep without a shepherd). This led to him telling his disciples that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Notice that Jesus talks about God being ‘Lord (or master) of the harvest’ and also for God to ‘send out workers into his harvest field’. The harvest field (the world) is God’s and he chooses whom to send out to be harvesters.
When you look around you at the state of the world, what do you see? Do you see through the eyes of compassion? Do you see the spiritual harvest that is plentiful? Do you see that the workers are few?
We should be asking God to identify and appoint those he wishes to be involved in the spiritual harvest. We should also be willing to be one of the workers God appoints to actively share the gospel message with those in the world. The world for us must include those close to us (family, friends and work colleagues), as well as the wider community.
Pray: Father, give us a heart of compassion, moved by a knowledge of the lostness of the world. May we be willing to play our part by being a worker in your harvest field. Amen