“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” – Matthew 9:35-38.
In Matthew 9 The Lord Jesus Christ made an impassioned plea to His disciples. Traveling through “…all the cities and villages” Jesus taught in the synagogues and performed miracles, healing many of the sick who came to Him. Yet despite this, He urged the disciples to pray that God would: “send forth labourers into his harvest.” This powerful passage not only teaches about the nature of God it raises the question of whether we – in our day-to-day lives, are working for God at all.
The passage from Matthew 9 brings many aspects of God’s nature to light:
- Jesus’ Compassion – seeing those who were ill coming to Him moved The Lord Jesus Christ “with compassion.” Jesus Christ cares about people and the fate of their souls. It mattered that the broken, sick people seeking Him were “…as sheep having no shepherd.” Do you share that compassion? When you walk around your city, village or town how do you see people? When you are at work, school or in any other day-to-day activity – do you realize that most people walking by, speaking with you or just carrying on with their lives are lost souls destined for the wrath of God? Does it stir any emotion to know that your “BFF”, colleagues or classmates are headed on a path to burn in hell for eternity? Does this even cross your mind? It certainly was on The Lord’s mind and moved Him with compassion.
- Many People Need the Gospel – “The harvest is truly plenteous” were Jesus’ words to describe the state of first-century Judea. And so it is with the world today. With so many nations turning away from God, the rise of evolution, the constant criticism of Christianity in mainstream media and other wiles of the enemy, society at large is spiritually blind and lost. 2 Corinthians 4 says:“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” –2 Corinthians 4:3-4.
Make no mistake – Satan and his twisted system of sinful temptation and spiritual corruption rule this current age. When you encounter someone who is “spiritual but not religious” or “not into church” or “just not a believer in anything” do you conclude that is just the product of their opinion, intellect and experience? Or do you believe the Bible which emphatically states that they are victims of spiritual warfare – their minds being utterly deceived by the Devil who wants nothing more than their worship or destruction? The world system that is grooming society for the Antichrist has created a truly plenteous harvest of lost souls.
The Laborers Are Few
During that era of Israel’s history, there was an established council of religious leaders in the Pharisees and Sadducees. The Levitical priesthood was still operating the temple. Yet Christ stated there were only a “few” true servants of God working to save souls. And such is the sad state of the church today. On an almost weekly basis more and more pastors proclaim their apostasy, abandoning the Word of God and sound doctrine on one issue or the other. Greedy, disgraceful prosperity preachers bamboozle their congregations out of their hard-earned money – preaching a message that the Christian faith is a business transaction where “tithing” will lead to all manner of material wealth and fame.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, false teachings like Lordship salvation, Hebrew roots, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventist preaching introduce all manner of spiritual error into the pulpit. Like the Pharisees these false teachers have replaced the inerrant Scripture with their own man-made (or woman-made) doctrines, opinions and feelings. These pseudo-servants are what The Lord called “hirelings” – not truly willing to lay down their lives for the flock because despite their impressive Christian veneer they “careth not for the flock.” How can a society with so many churches have so few that are teaching sound doctrine? This is precisely what The Lord prophesied would take place. We are in a desperate shortage of true laborers.
God Will Provide
Despite the bleak state in the world and the church (the church in name – not the true Church), we can rest and rejoice that God is “the Lord of the harvest.” Continue to pray to God to raise up bold, Bible-believing Christians who will enter the mission field, share the Gospel, work in various ministries to serve the community and our children or preach from the pulpit with spiritual accuracy. If you are one of God’s laborers, rejoice! You are a precious light in this increasingly dark world. Ministry work can often feel defeating and lacking in fruit. But rest assured that your work is regarded and valued by God.
The prophet Elijah once felt so alone in his work for God that he thought he was literally the only person left in the entire nation who was a believer! But The Lord, in His infinite grace, reminded the prophet that there were yet “seven thousand” who had not bowed their knees to Baal. If you need encouragement in your work, pray to The Lord of the Harvest. If you need more hands to cook, distribute tracts, work with the children or any other manner of blessed work for our church, pray to the Lord of the Harvest. God is on the throne and will provide.
For all who work, God bless you. For those who have yet to labor – please join in. The harvest is plenteous!