“The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few” Matthew 9:37
Jesus begins moving through the region, preaching in synagogues along the way in all the surrounding cities and villages. The message of the Kingdom was spreading. And Jesus knew His time was limited. He knew the need was great. He knew where He was headed and He knew the need that would remain. He saw the desperate crowds in the cities and villages and He “had compassion for them” Matthew 9:36. Our King is the King who cares. Jesus is the Lord of compassion. Jesus does not want anyone left outside the reach of the Kingdom. He wants all invited to enter through the narrow gate. He sees the great need and He knows what is needed is more labourers to carry the message after He is gone. So He urges the disciples to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into the harvest” Matthew 9:38.
In Mark 16:15 we find out who Jesus had in mind as the answer to that prayer. He gathers the disciples again and instructs them to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” The labourers to be sent into the harvest are the disciples of Jesus. All those who claim to be Kingdom citizens are also harvest labourers.
Many Christians have a view that only certain people have a role to play in the work of evangelism. It is something for church staff, mission agencies and gifted individuals. Mission work isn’t for the rest of us. We have our nice safe secular 9-5 job that suits us well and allows us to give a little money to support the cause without having to get our hands dirty doing the work ourselves. Sure we can pray for more labourers in the harvest, but it just isn’t for us. But in the Kingdom there is no distinction between mission workers and secular workers. For Kingdom people there is no split between ‘Christian’ work and ‘regular’ work. For Kingdom citizens all work is harvest labour.
No matter what our job is, no matter what skills we feel we have or do not have, no matter where we are based, regardless of our age or gender or experience we are all harvest labourers. We are all meant to be involved in the Kingdom work of proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom in every city and every village in all the world, declaring it to the whole of creation. This is not an optional extra. This is not something only for those who have a role on the church staff. This is for all of us. The harvest is plentiful and the labourers are us.
You may feel inadequate and unqualified, but we are not alone. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit will go with us, giving us words to say. We can have confidence, for we are not doing this in our own strength.
Each of us have a harvest field of friends and family and co-workers around us. Each of us has unique access to them and the ability to engage them in conversation. As we engage in relationships with them we have the potential to share the gospel message of grace, mercy and abundant Kingdom life with them, and to let them see it lived out in our lives. We are all called to live missionally, to always be willing to share the reason for the hope we have and to makes the most of every opportunity for doing good that God gives us. The work of proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom is not to be let to a select few ‘Christian workers’, for we are all called to do ‘Christian’ work – working for the glory of God and using every opportunity He gives us to share the message of the Kingdom in the harvest field we happen to find ourselves in, for we are all harvest labourers.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” Colossians 3:23
- Do you view your current job as a missional opportunity? Why/why not?
- What is the harvest field God has given you at present?
- Are you living out your role as a harvest labourer? How?