Friday, September 5, 2014

Workers for the Harvest

"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Matthew 9:37-38 (TNIV)

Have you ever thought about the enormous need everywhere you turn? And I'm not just talking about one type of need, but rather all the people around us who are hurting physically, emotionally, mentally, and, yes, spiritually. There is a world of people who are in pain, suffering, and seeking hope.

As a missionary, sometimes seeing the needs around me is completely overwhelming. Oftentimes, I wish I could do more. But, the truth of the matter is, I am just one. Our missionary team, although united and gifted in many different areas, is small. The needs always seem bigger than our abilities. (And, yes, that makes us totally dependent on Him . . . but that is a topic for another blog!)

It's interesting, really. In Matthew 9, Jesus recognizes that the harvest is abundant. His exact wording according to the TNIV is "The harvest is plentiful." He knew that the needs we find around us are many, too many to meet, in fact. Yet, his next statement is one that should convict: "but the workers are few."

Since returning to McAllen to serve in full-time ministry, I have been overwhelmed by the needs all around me. There are neighborhood youth who want to play basketball in the Taylor Community Center's (TCC) gym. There are young men in our community who want to play on the TCC soccer field. There are children outside our doors, ready to learn from the Bible, at 5:15 PM every Thursday night, even though Bible Club doesn't begin until 6:00 PM. There are ladies calling me, wanting to "shop" in our clothes closet, The Sparrow's Nest, because their kids have outgrown their clothing and the father is out of work. There are women who take a bag of rice to feed their family, joyful that it's something that will fill their children's tummies. There are marriages on the verge of divorce. I have sometimes wept at the needs at the end of the day when I've had time to process all I've witnessed and heard.

The truth of the matter is that the workers are few. There is a broken world looking for hope, and yet our staff is already stretched to the limit. We are joyfully serving, trusting in the Lord's strength to enable us to reach the lost world around us. But, I can't help but think, why are there so few workers? Has God quit calling people to serve? The answer to that is a resounding "NO!"

The one true God we serve is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)! He is still calling His children to serve, love, and reach out to a lost world. So I am left with another question. Who is not responding?

This is not a call to feel guilty. This is a plea to pray about how God is calling YOU to serve! He may not be asking you to pack your bags and move to the mission field ---- and yet, maybe He is! Or maybe He's asking you to step out in faith and serve in your local church. Maybe He's asking you to step out and invite a neighboring family over to your house for dinner, where they can see a Christ-filled home up close and personally. Maybe He's asking you to humble yourself and do a job that you have always seen as "beneath" you, but that would bless someone abundantly and help someone see Christ in you. Maybe He's challenging you to step out of your comfortable bubble of Christian friends and grab a coffee with someone who may need a tangible touch from the God they don't yet know.

The needs are many. Will you take a moment today to ask God how you can be ONE of the workers He is seeking? Then, step out in joy and obedience. You'll be amazed how one Spirit-filled individual can make an incredible difference in the huge harvest field!

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