Matthew 9:37-38 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.”
This could hardly be a more familiar passage. I don’t remember when I first learned it, but it was certainly in my childhood. Also, it was our Scripture for the Year just a few years ago. The question remains, however, how well I am following through with what it says. After talking with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus told his disciples to stop quoting what seems to have been a proverb of the day about the harvest being some time off, telling them that the fields were already ripe. (John 4:34) It is a perennial problem in most churches that the average believer isn’t sensitive to those around them to know when they are open to be led to faith in Christ. That could be said to be part of the gift of Evangelist, and this statement by Jesus is telling us to pray for more people to have that gift. The tricky thing about prayer, however, is that genuine prayer offers yourself to God as an instrument for the prayer to be answered. In other words, if you are praying for God to send evangelists, you need to be willing to be one yourself. A lot of people balk at that! Going further, in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) Jesus expressly said, “make disciples.” “Laborers for the harvest” doesn’t just include those cutting the grain, it also includes those bundling the sheaves, threshing the grain, and getting it into the storehouse. Nurturing and maturing new believers is as important as street corner evangelism, at least. Of course we can’t do any of this right on our own, so prayer of this sort must include asking for the guidance and anointing of the Holy Spirit. What we must not do is ignore the whole issue, being satisfied with our own salvation and letting everyone else go to hell.
Just knowing this Scripture without applying it is just fooling myself. (James 1:22) As a pastor I am certainly to “do the work of an evangelist,” just as Paul told Timothy. (2 Timothy 4:5) but I am also to “prepare God’s people for works of service,” (Ephesians 4:12) training them to be evangelists and disciplers. To this point I’ve not been very successful at that, and part of it is that I’m not a very good evangelist or discipler myself! The principle of Coaching that I’ve been learning for the past couple of years should really help with that, but I’ve got to put it into practice, and not just let it reside in my brain as theory. Frankly, I’ve been lazy, not putting in the effort to create and maintain the human interactions that are essential to all of this. When it came up in a conversation a few weeks ago my daughters were both quick to say that I am an introvert, but that is no excuse. I am to be a faithful servant of my Lord Jesus Christ, fully willing to do whatever He says, whether it is in my “comfort zone” or not.
Father, thank You for this strong admonition. Help me follow through, listening accurately to You and doing precisely what You desire, so that I may serve both as a harvest worker and a harvest trainer, raising up other harvest workers, to bring the Japanese people into Your kingdom, Your family, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!