Here in the United States we are experiencing an unusually high rate of unemployment that has not existed in several decades. Businesses seem to struggle on many fronts and there are significant deficits in our local, state and federal governments. There seems to be a shortage of demand. It can be very exasperating for men and women who are willing to give 100% each day to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families not to have the opportunity to do so. Even more devastating perhaps is having a source of income that is incapable of meeting or sustaining the needs of your family. This is commonly referred to as poverty.
Jesus asked the disciples to pray because a similar situation existed in His day. The circumstances were reversed; there was more work to be done than there were workers. Jesus asked the disciples to pray that God would send more workers into His harvest field.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 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 9:35-38)
- Are the spiritual harvest fields of our generation over-staffed or understaffed?
- Do we have a shortage of labor?
- Do we have a shortage of skilled labor?
Spiritual conversion or being born again is frequently referred to in scripture with agricultural analogies. Granted that in the first century agriculture was something nearly everyone could relate to, but there are some striking parallels that continue to be relevant to us today.
- The harvest belongs to God
- There are stages a person goes through on their way to being redeemed
- There are different people involved in bringing others to faith
- There are times and seasons in individual lives when people are ripe for harvest
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)
I believe that Jesus’ prayer request for laborers in the harvest fields of our generation is still valid. I believe that there is great need to men and women like you and me to not only pray this prayer but to be the answer to this prayer. Many preachers have said that your call or destiny is not only tied to God but that it involves a people and a place. In other words, God has a harvest field for you to work in.
Your harvest field may be the office workers you see each day. Your harvest field may be the basketball team you play on or the cheerleading squad you cheer for. Your harvest field may be in the city you currently live in or half a world away. I do not know where your harvest field lies. I only know that God’s harvest field consists of the entire earth and that He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).
Frequently the men and women who read my messages are Christians who are already actively participating in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. If this is you today, please pray for more brothers and sisters to join in the divine workforce. There are more than 5 billion people on the planet that do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. The harvest is huge, heaven has room, the blood of Jesus never fails, the power of the Holy Spirit is readily available; the missing ingredient is always a willing heart.
Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)
Perhaps you are a Christian who is not actively engaged in fulfilling the Great Commission. God needs you. He wants to see the people who He died for accept His offer of redemption and salvation through Jesus Christ. You are needed as a laborer in the harvest field of this generation.
I find that most Christians are willing (at least in their heart) to work in the harvest field of their generation but they have questions:
- Where would I start?
- Where would I go?
- What would I say?
- Who would listen?
- What happens if it works?
- What happens if it doesn’t?
- What is God’s call upon my life?
The best person to answer these questions is God. There can be no substitute in your life for prayer. God will share with you His will and purpose for you. Please do not let anyone else create a will and purpose for you that God has not.
Most Christians begin by sharing with others what God has done in their lives. We are witnesses of Jesus Christ; we testify of the things we have seen, heard and experienced to others. This is one of the most powerful ways to communicate the gospel. Your testimony is unique to you and therefore will reach people who I cannot or others cannot. The focus in the sharing of your testimony needs to be centered on several things:
- What was the state of your heart and life prior to Christ?
- The actual event of your conversion
- The change Christ has made in your heart
- The change Christ has made in your life
- Why you feel compelled to share your testimony
The nice thing about a testimony is it never changes. Once you are ready to share, you will always be ready to share; no sermon preparation will be necessary. The old saying remains true, “the man with an argument is always at the mercy of a man with an experience.” You must remember in your sharing that you are not responsible for the outcome, only the labor. “One man plants, another waters, but God gives the increase.”
The opportunity is share Christ and work in the harvest field of this generation is all around us. Where will your call take you? Where will you labor for the Lord?
Don’t be afraid to ask these questions of God, He will answer you. When He does your life will take on a greater level of significance and purpose; you will know why you are here and to whom you have been sent.
There is a shortage of labor in the harvest field of our generation. Let’s us pray that God will send more laborers and let us be willing to be those laborers.