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 9:37-38)
It is our family tradition that my late grandfather would give a pack of rice for his children as a gift before they going back home to town after Gawai Dayak Festival. He said something to me that I will always remember for a life time. He said it with a lovely sarcastic way, “I have many children, but few of them helping me with the farming. I know that they are busy with their life, but I don’t know if I can give them anymore next year.”
Today, I understand what he meant. Just like our Father in Heaven, my grandfather needs people to help him with the fieldwork. What so great about our God is that He wants to partnership with us in bringing people to Christ. He can do it without our help, but He wants to involve us in His work. Our Father is not a far faraway Deity in the heavenly sky above. He is near and with Christ in us; He is willing to moves our heart to pray for His will “to send out laborers into his harvest."
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few…” Harvest here refers to the spiritual harvest of souls for salvation. People are ready but the workers are few. Many people today had realized that they are faint in soul. People around the world had been weighted by rules and regulations about religious conducts. “Cannot do that!” “You must do this!”… bonded by so called ‘teachers’ that care nothing but themselves! Pray that God would send more laborers who cared for their souls. People need godly men and women who are after God’s own heart.
“…therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest…” Here it is clear that Jesus affirmed the fact that believers’ prayers participate in the fulfillment of God’s plans. My E-Sword explains that the word pray which is Deomai in this verse actually means to beg, that is; petition, make request. The Lord of the harvest will send forth the laborers in answer to our prayer. Pray therefore my friends; beg Him, make petition, make request that He would send people to those who are faint in soul.
Andrew Murray raises a question: Why don’t we obey the Master’s instruction more heartily and cry more earnestly for laborers? There are two reasons, he said.
1) We miss the compassion of Jesus which gave rise to this request for prayer
On previous verse, Matthew recorded that Jesus ‘had compassion for them.’ Compassion in this context means to have the bowels yearn, that is, feel sympathy, to pity. (My PDF Oxford Thesaurus defines bowel as interior, insides, depths, heart, centre, core) Do you have compassion for the lost souls? Even my grandfather cares for his children. He had compassion on them. That was why he said, “…but I don’t know if I can give them anymore next year.” How much more our Father in Heaven care for the lost souls?
2) We believe too little in the power of prayer to bring about define results.
Andrew Murray writes, ‘We do not live close enough to God to be capable of the confidence that He will answer… Let us pray for a life union with Christ, so that His compassion streams into us and His Spirit assures us that our prayer is heard.’
Take time to pray for yourself, your needs and so on. But in doing that, our prayer must not focus entirely on ourselves. If you are aware of what happening in the world today, it is not difficult to understand that people need to hear His Good News. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send His laborers. Pray that He would send someone who is like you, who know the Good News and the message of Salvation it brings. I pray that He would send you.
After all who is the laborer? Every believer is a laborer!