And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35-38
While leaders in the Church today assume different roles and titles, our Lord Jesus seemed unconcerned with institutional positions and offices during his earthly ministry. What he was concerned about, as in Matthew 9:35-38, was the work to be done. He was concerned about the lack of laborers, laborers who could lead the “harassed and helpless” into the Kingdom of God. Jesus desired leaders who were not office holders, but rather harvest laborers, as he says in Matthew 9:38, “the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” And today we have the same need. We need leaders who are willing to labor for the Lord’s harvest and kingdom, and Jesus’ words in Matthew 9:35-38 are instructive for us in this regard.
First, Jesus tells us how we can get more laborers. He says, “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Jesus does not recommend more ministry recruiting or training in the local synagogues, but rather he commands his disciples to pray earnestly to the Lord, because it is the Lord who calls and it is the Lord who sends laborers into His harvest. Second, Jesus also makes clear what this labor is for. The labor is for the harvest; it is for leading lost souls, the “harassed and helpless…sheep without a shepherd” to God and His Kingdom. Lastly, Jesus tells us what this labor looks like. It looks like Jesus’ ministry in Matthew 9:35: teaching, preaching, and healing. Leaders who labor for Jesus teach about the kingdom of God, proclaim the gospel, and put the power of the kingdom on display through healing the afflicted.
Wherever you find yourself today, you have the opportunity to contribute in unique ways to this harvest ministry, to share the power and love of Christ with lost souls. God has gifted each one of us to lead and labor in special ways and called each of us to contribute as courageous harvest laborers for Christ and His kingdom.
Dear Lord, please fill me today with Your love for this lost and sinful world. Give me Your eyes of compassion to see those in need around me, and fill me with the power of Your Holy Spirit so that I may share and display the love and truth of Christ in powerful ways. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Ministry Fellow, Christian Union Vita
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