Workers in the Kingdom

‘Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “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 9:35-38
In the Western world in which we live, the idea of ‘work’ carries increasingly negative connotations. Millennials are typically aspiring for jobs that require little effort and high reward. Many of us have a nine-til-five mindset, dread Mondays and live for the weekend. The desire for convenience is not just limited to our occupations. Whether it’s Deliveroo, Amazon prime or apps like FaceTime, we have become accustomed to having whatever we want, when we want it at the click of a button — or perhaps just a scan of our face. The world seems to be geared towards having an easy life. But this is not the way of the Kingdom.

Sadly, the desire for an easy life has crept into much of Western Christianity. Many want to follow Christ as long as it doesn’t cost too much. We want to hear well-crafted sermons, listen to well-rehearsed musicians and fund a small minority of people to ‘do the work’ by throwing tips into the offering bucket. As we read these verses, there may even be a temptation to simply pray that the Lord would send out workers whilst disqualifying ourselves from doing any of the work. The idea that followers of Christ have to be workers in the harvest field is not a popular one.

However, like with many things, we will want to work hard when we have a motivation for doing so. When Thomas and I moved into our new home in the summer, we would spend hours a day prepping walls, laying dust sheets and painting. Sometimes we would still be painting late into the night. It wasn’t our love for hard work that kept us going, but our vision for what the house could become. In this passage we see that Jesus was motivated by compassion. He saw that the people were like sheep without a shepherd — harassed and helpless. It was into this context that he asked his disciples to pray for workers. When we see that the harvest is individuals who are lost and helpless, we will know a grace for working to see them come to the Good Shepherd.

There is an old saying, ‘many hands make light work’. When we shoulder the Great Commission together, the load will be lighter. How do we see the harvest come in? One soul at a time; each of us playing our part as workers in the harvest field.

- Bethany Milne

Inward prayer: Lord, help me to push past the culture of the day that places high value on convenience and little value on hard work. I want to be willing to roll up my sleeves and work hard for the sake of the harvest. I want to be motivated by compassion for the lost; help me to see people as you see them, Amen.
Outward prayer: Lord of the harvest, send out workers into your harvest field. Mobilise the Church to become an efficient workforce for the sake of those who are harassed and helpless. You are the Good Shepherd and we want to bring people to you, Amen.
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1 Comment

Ruthlyn - January 15th, 2022 at 11:25am

Beth I am in agreement with your prayer. I to need the same.

Thank you for your word.