“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” (Matt. 9:36-38). What important message can we take from these verses for ourselves, today, and the task ahead of us?
The spiritual harvest overflowed, but harvesters were scarce. Heart soil had been prepared, spiritual seed had been planted; germination, plentiful moisture, and abundant sunshine spurred unbelievable growth. Ripened souls awaited harvesting, but where were the harvesters? Utilizing simple, easily understood word-pictures, Jesus sought to inspire contagious zeal.
Sometimes Christians covet their fellowship with other believers and cluster together, blindly bypassing worldly seekers who are ripened for harvest. Perhaps not realizing their divine accountability for perishing souls, they busy themselves with church engagements, civic responsibilities, building maintenance, and other worthwhile projects dedicated to preserving the status quo. These are doubtless good things. Well-intentioned members sometimes question the value of evangelism or express this sentiment:
Pastor, this evangelism stuff is all right, but don’t we need programs for people who are already in church?
This is a fair enough question, though one must also ask,
When did Jesus ever lament the shortage of grain preservers? Instead,
more harvesters was His prayerful plea.
How can we find the right balance between ministering to the needs of those in the church and at the same time not neglecting outreach?