Fall is one of my favorite seasons. We don’t get fall weather here in North Texas until right around Thanksgiving, but come Labor Day, I excitedly put out all my fall decorations and buy a pumpkin for the porch. My husband especially loves that all my decorations fit in one box that I can easily manage by myself.
For farmers, fall signals time for harvest. A farmer concerns himself with higher yields if he waits to harvest, but risks crop damage due to frost or other weather conditions. Harvest is one of the most labor-intensive time periods of farming, and when it is finished it will signal a time of rest for both the land and the farmer.
The church is in the time of harvest. Jesus brought the Kingdom of God and planted all the seeds of salvation in the souls of men. Before he left this earth, He left instructions for bringing in the harvest of the seeds He planted. He commissioned all of us to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20).
Jesus spoke of the harvest to the disciples before He sent them out to minister in His name. It was pointed out to me in a recent sermon that usually the idea of harvest in Scripture refers to the end, or the judgment (Is. 17:10-11; Joel 3:11-14; Matt 13:24-29; Rev 14:14-20). But in Matthew 9:37, Jesus sees the harvest field that is ripe with good fruit, but only lacks laborers or workers.
I was moved by what the pastor said. Jesus doesn’t tell the disciples to pray for the lost—He tells them to pray for the church to do their work—He needs laborers. Make us a church that hears the cries of the people and cannot stand it. I had never seen this before. Jesus is concerned that the church will not go to His harvest field. This pastor was even so bold as to point out that perhaps all the church programs that are offered are keeping the workers so busy, they are never around the lost.
How much time have you spent working the harvest field of the kingdom of God? I’m not asking how many hours you have clocked volunteering in the nursery or taking Bible classes (although both are encouraged in Scripture). I’m asking you to think about how much time you have spent talking or how many people you have talked to about faith? How many people have you interacted with who do not know what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? How many times have you talked to them about what it means to you to know Jesus?
Jesus looks over His kingdom and sees the multitudes of people who are His. He also sees the even greater multitudes who are ready for harvest (ripe for salvation), but who have no laborer to go and talk to them. You know what that means. If the harvest isn’t brought in, there will come a time when the fruit will wither and die.
Right after Jesus description of the harvest, He sent out the 72 witnesses in pairs (Luke 10), and He gave them authority to be His witnesses. He has given us authority to go into His harvest field and bring in the fruit. Are you working the harvest?