"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to sent out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves" Luke 10:2
When Jesus spoke to the masses people, when the letters that are recorded in the New Testament were written to the early churches, people were still connected to the land for their food and livelihood.
They understood certain things about harvest. In our urban culture it's easy to breeze over certain verses and turn them into quaint scriptural cliches missing the importance of the analogies.
As I sat in a combine, cutting down wheat today I thought about the Kingdom harvest that Jesus is referring to. Growing up on a farm, being married to a farm hand, and being part of the annual harvest crew I've come to learn that there are a few things that define harvest season. When I apply those to the verse above I think it helps me understand more fully what Jesus saying.
The main trait of harvest is URGENCY. Winter is on it's way.
Harvest has a window of opportunity that can be missed and lost. There is a natural sense of urgency. When the field is ready the workers don't leave on vacation, they don't sit around watching football, they don't have other priorities. They work. They labor until the last of the grain is safe from the coming frost. Distraction, apathy, or laziness can result in entire fields of grain laying destroyed under feet of snow.
Another understood aspect of Harvest is that everyone pitches in. Harvest historically is a family affair. Each member of the family or crew has a task, a job given according to their skills. Some cut the grain, some thresh it, others provide the resources or funds, someone cares for the needs of the workers. Everyone works together for a common purpose, a goal.
While there is a diversity of labourers, and a variety of work being done, it is all done for one uniting purpose.
Anyone who has worked on a farm crew knows that all work is not forward movement. Work done in the wrong way, with the wrong methods, with wrong motives will cause more damage than good.
Breakdowns will disable progress. Burnouts can cause irreparable injuries. Crops can be mowed over carelessly and left laying in the dirt.
I've noticed that the most effective labourers are humble, careful, and have a genuine vested interest in the outcome. It doesn't take a lot of training or experience to run a combine but it does take attentiveness and a willingness to learn. Some tasks need someone with a lot of skill and experience, some jobs just need someone with a willingness to get their hands dirty. The same thing can be said about Kingdom Harvest.
A humble farmer knows that he is not the one who calls the rain clouds, or harnesses the power of the hail, or makes the sun shine. He is powerless to germinate a seed, or send roots down deep. The Lord of the Harvest does those things, the farmer is responsible for stewarding that drop, and carefully nurturing it to maturity,
to Harvest season.
Jesus commands his followers to get off their lazy boy recliners and put on their work boots. He calls us to persevere and to sacrifice. We need to work together as a community of brothers and sisters that have a common purpose.
Love a lost world to Jesus.
Receive grace, live in it, and pour it out around us.