Matt. 9: 35-38
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 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. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
GOD’S WORD Translation: Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is large, but the workers are few.
In this chapter Jesus performed a number of miracles:
- A man sick of the palsy – sins forgiven and healed
- Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom – called and became a disciple of Jesus
- A certain ruler, who said that his daughter was “even now dead” – healed
- A woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years – healed
- Two blind men followed him – healed
- A dumb man possessed with a devil – the devil was cast out, the dumb spake
No wonder when he saw the multitudes, tired and scattered abroad as sheep without shepherd He lamented aloud about the scarcity of labourers in the midst of an overwhelming harvest.
- THE HARVEST
In the Old Testament, references to harvest are about farming outputs – grains, animals and farm products. In Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted (harvest). In Genesis 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
In the New Testament, more often than not, harvest is used in reference to judgment between good and evil, between the righteous and the wicked, in the Kingdom of God.
In the book of Matthew 13:30 Jesus illustrated this with the parable of the good seed and the tares. He said “Let both (ie. the good seed and the tares) grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn”.
As illustrated with the parable of the sower, the seed is the Word of God in the heart of a man. When the seed falls on a fertile ground, receptive heart where the Spirit of God is resident, it germinates and grows and bears fruit.
In the Spiritual realm, the seed is the word of God; the fruits refer to those that hear the word and believe and do them in obedience; the time of harvest is when the quality of the fruits (believers) is tested in judgment. There is the fruit sown in flesh and the fruit of the Spirit.
Gal.5:19:Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
[Gal. 5:]22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. The seed is sown on earth but harvest takes place in the kingdom of heaven. But there are few Christians sowing the seed of the word of God in the hearts of people.
Judgment at harvest
[Matt. 25] 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
[Rev. 14] 15-20 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap;
20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. 0.201166 x 1,600 = 322km
- THE LABOURERS
To labour means to work. The totality of persons in a given age bracket who are willing and able to work is referred to as the labour force. Children below the age of 15 years are conventionally not allowed in the labour force; it is called child labour and it is forbidden under international covenants. So also most older persons beyond age 65 apart from those with special skills and experience. At one point or another, individuals must exit from the labour force for reasons of old age, disability, migration or death.
There steps and stages for individuals to enter, remain and to exit from the labor force. Before entering the labour force an individual must prepare, through education, skill training or apprenticeship. Poorly prepared persons entering the labour force run the risk of unemployment, disguised unemployment or underemployment, poor pay and imminent poverty.
During the period of training and education, each person is offered the opportunity to develop his/skills appropriate to anticipated labour force participation. What would you like to be in future? That’s the question most aprents ask their children, When you train to specialize, you perform at your best. Society expects its workers to address all areas of labour demand – farmers, farm workers, teachers, miners, fishermen, artisans, bankers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, entertainers, clerks, managers, Pastors, politicians, etc.
Similarly, in the Kingdom of God, there are works to be done and must be labourers. Jesus showed this by example, and has given us the guiding rules.
First order condition, you must be born again to qualify as a member of God’s labour force. Jesus loves children but they are by reason of age not part of the army of workers. To be part of the army of Jesus you must come to Jesus for your salvation. Once you are saved, the journey of work with the Lord starts; but you start as a baby in the Lord – you are counseled, fed with the word and prayed for. The Church expects you to grow and be able to receive a higher level of teaching and admonition in the Lord – ready to join the army.
No Christian is expected to simply attend church services and go home all their lives. Such Christians are not part of the work force and at the time of harvest will have nothing to report – their record books in heaven are empty! They will be lumped together as goats, fit for the lake of fire!
Every Christian is expected to specialize in one area of service to the Lord or another – He gave gifts to his disciples; to everyone that is willing and able to serve in His Vineyard: What is your area????????
[1 Cor. 12] 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. Also V 8-11; also
V,28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
12 disciples of Jesus [Luke 9:1-6 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
70 disciples of Jesus [Luke 10] 1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. 5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house……..
17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name…. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
When you labour on your own and you carry a heavy buden, you need Jesus: Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
To be truly a labourer for Jesus, you must be His disciple; a follower of Jesus
[Luke 9] 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
The question is: Am I a true follower of Christ? Have you found Jesus? Are you firmly in Christ? Can Jesus locate you in His Kingdom? [Rom. 14:17] For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
- REWARD FOR LABOUR OF LOVE
For you to be a labourer, you must first labour. When you labour for Jesus, it is called labour of love, and it comes with reward:
In the work with God, you must be in the spirit. Most people get easily frustrated serving the Lord without experiencing any tangible reward: house,, money, job, promotion, marriage, family, children, cars, food and pleasurable things of life.
Jesus has all these in stock, you only need to believe in Him, ask and it shall be given you. He supplied the children of Israel with free food in the form of manner in the widerness; when they complained about meat, he rained meat from the sky in form of quails and they ate meat to their full. God was interested in their hearts focusing on Him, believing and trusting in His power.
In the New Testament, the Bible makes it clear that meat and drinks do not define the purpose of God for your life by sending His Son to die for you. It’s about eternal life in His Kingdom. Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Those who followed Jesus for healing, deliverance and for food got satisfied. But Jesus is interested in their souls. That’s why He said: John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
[Matt. 25:31] 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me
J1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
[Hebrews 6:10] For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
After your labour of love, a book of rembrance will be opened for your reward. [1 Thessalonians 1:3] Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
1 Corinthians 3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
Philippians 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Philippians 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.
Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
- BUT THE LABOURERS ARE FEW
- World population 7.5 billion; Christians 2.1 billion (28%); Pentecostals 280milliom (3.7%)
- So, why are the labourers for Jesus so few? –
- Population to be evangelized is so large and scattered all over the world
- Even among Christians committed to Jesus, there is manifestation of open unemployment and disguised unemployment.
Disguised unemployment is a labour market situation where surplus manpower exists and in which some individuals have zero or almost zero marginal productivity such that if they are removed the total level of output remains unchanged.
It is a situation in which the church is full of worshippers but most people simply attend the church services without being part of the spiritual service to the Kingdom.
What should be done to rectify the shortage of productive labour supply? PRAY!
[Matt.9] 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
1) Pray for followers of Christ to get their priority right: Priority No.1: Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done. It is the will of God that enter the Kingdom. Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Pray for revival among Christians: [Luke 9] 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Pray for fruitful evangelism: Unless you are born again, sanctified and Spirit filled, as His disciple, you can hardly be called a Christian, a true follower of Jesus. [John 3:5] Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
- I’m so glad, I belong to Jesus, I belong to my Lord x 2