Matthew – God’s Purposes
Whether we are called to work in our local church, work on the streets helping the homeless find Jesus and a different way of life, work as teachers in public schools expressing our faith through our actions and compassion, working at a factory to bring God’s Light of hope to a dark world…WHATEVER our vocation and location, there always seems to be the need for more people to help us point the way to Christ. God’s work is and always will be larger than we can possible do alone. God knows that. He invites us, equips us and then helps us to accomplish what we thought was impossible. That is what God does daily. He IS the God of what we think is impossible. We need God’s help to do what He has invited us to be and do in this world.
That being said, what stands out to me in our passage this morning is what Jesus asked his disciples to pray….”Pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
First of all we need to understand what Jesus is saying in these few words.
1. The Lord is in charge.
2. HE will send more workers into his fields if we ask Him.
Sometimes we humans, myself included, self righteously take on the work God has given us to do as if we are to do it all by ourselves. We behave as if we are the only ones that CAN do the work at times. We don’t ask others to help us. We don’t train others to listen to God’s call. We don’t mentor others to do what we are currently doing so that the work can be done more efficiently. We take on more than God requires, (what God has given us to do along with all the tasks we have tacked on for good measure), stepping in to take over, lording over those who shy away from helping because they think you have all of it under control. Yikes!
Do we seriously realize WHO is in charge of the harvest?
Matthew 9: 35-38, NLT
The Need for Workers
Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 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.”
LET’S THINK ABOUT THIS…
Jesus saw the crowds of individual whom He loved from the beginning of creation. He saw their need for Him. He saw their need for a Savior and Lord who could lead them. I don’t think Jesus is complaining about the mission God, the Father, has sent Him to do. I think this is another “teachable moment” for those He is training to take over and enlarge God’s work when He goes back to heaven.
Jesus spends three years training His invited and called motley crew of “fishers of men” and followers of Christ, teaching them to do more than He, in human form on earth, will do while He is walking the earth beside them. Have you ever noticed that Jesus always sent his disciples in twos to do certain tasks? There was only one time that he sent a disciple out alone. That was when he sent Judas, (who allowed Satan to enter in and have control), away from the Lord’s Table to “do what you have to do” to betray Him. (Matthew 26:50) Jesus doubles his efforts when he calls, prepares and sends. We can learn from these actions of Jesus.
WE HAVE AN IDENTITY CRISIS…
Randy and I have been involved in following God, saying yes to where He sends us, while seeking his will and guidance for many years now. What we observe in various groups of God’s people is their lack of praying this prayer. They mumble and groan, grow tired and weary, but seldom pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers to help them. They hang on to the work as if it is THEIR work and not God’s work. Many find their identity in the work and sometimes lose their identity with Christ, the Lord of the Harvest. They seldom mentor and train others who are willing, trying to follow Christ, seeking God’s invitation to join Him in His work, only to find the “holy few” doing all the work as if they are not needed. And we wonder why there is a leadership and worker void in God’s church today.
PRAY to the Lord of the Harvest to send workers, mentor them, then step aside to allow God to work in and through others! God WILL answer this prayer. We have seen it happen in our walk in saying yes to God. WHEN, not if, God sends harvest hands, know that He is sending helpful hands with gifts and abilities your group is lacking. That’s how God works. Celebrate it! Praise God for answered prayer!
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT:
Have we earnestly prayed for help?
Are we ready to train others to do what we are doing so we can be ready to enlarge God’s work as He sees fit in the “fields that are ripe”?
Are we joyfully expectant when we pray for harvest helpers to help us help others find and follow Jesus?
Dear Heavenly Father,
What a different perspective you are leading us to learn this morning from this passage. I give you praise and glory for being patient with us as we learn and grow. Thank you, Holy Spirit for reminding us Who is in charge. I ask you, Heaven Father, Lord of the Harvest, to send more workers to the fields that ripe here and around the world. Thank you for inviting us to Your work. What a humbling, exciting adventure to walk with you wherever you send. We pray, You work. You send. We obey. Our lives are yours.
In Jesus Name, Amen