When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38 ESV)
There is a lot of preparation work that goes into harvesting a crop. I am not a farmer, but I can generally take a guess on some of the tasks that need to be done, such as:
• Preparing the soil
• Installing water irrigation
• Planting seeds
• Applying fertilizer
• Removing threatening pests
• Monitoring for disease
• Checking the crop for readiness
For a modest size farm that is still a lot of work for just one person! Without the proper equipment and team of workers, harvesting a crop would be a very slow and overwhelming process. Now let’s think about harvesting in terms of connecting folks to God.
What Jesus sees in this world are millions of people who need a shepherd because they are “harassed” by the devil who exploits their brokenness. He attempts to destroy their lives so they remain stuck in despair and hopelessness. He especially targets those who are ready to take a step of faith to accept God’s gift of salvation. With that in mind, I think Jesus sees people for their potential and not just their flaws. He knows we are imperfect sinners, and so he inserts himself into this world to start his ministry and invites many people to participate.
What God does is use a wide variety of “laborers” to spread the Good News and to show his love in practical ways. Not everyone is gifted as a preacher, singer, teacher, or counselor. Some people are gifted at working with their hands and others with their minds. Whatever ability a person has been given, the Lord will show them how to use their gift for service. The ultimate goal is to keep reaching one more person for Jesus.
You may ask, “Would he would even use me?” Yes, he can use you! You may think you are no one special and probably less than ordinary. But the truth is that Jesus loves to use humble spirits to do something extraordinary. Do you remember how he invited a fisherman and a tax collector to be his disciples? One was struggling in his business and the other was hated by his own people. Yet, both became leaders of the church and influenced the faith of many generations.
I believe Jesus instructed his disciples to pray earnestly for God to call and appoint laborers because he does not want to lose one soul. He has compassion for every person that is struggling in this broken world. Every church member is responsible for completing the work that the Lord has given them. The tasks may be small or they may be great. The point is that we should not be weary of doing good.
Evangelizing is never hard if we maintain a heart of service. We just need to be ourselves and go to work. Wherever we are and whatever we do, we can always point people to Jesus and bless them with an act of kindness. That’s it. There is no need to complicate matters. A pastor once challenged our church by asking, “How many people will be in heaven because of you?” Only time will tell.