I have an alarm that goes off on my phone every work day. At 10:02 my phone beeps and reminds me to pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send workers into his field. This is because of Jesus’ famous command in Luke Chapter 10 verse 2:
“He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
It’s a wonderful thing to be reminded almost daily that God has people who are ready to hear about Jesus. People who will rejoice in the good news of Jesus being King and Saviour and place their faith in him. It’s also a wonderful reminder that God wants to use people to bring in the harvest. That it has always been God’s plan to send people to other people. I hope you too will be encouraged as you obey Jesus’ command to pray.
Our problem though is that when we pray for “workers” we think “missionary”. We think minister or Youth Leader or Billy Graham. We think “Anyone but me Lord!” My sister is a missionary in Africa and she would love prayer for more people to go and live where she lives and share the gospel with the Yao people. But this prayer is in no way restricted to missionaries.
I want to take a moment to help us understand how this verse applies to us. Too often, this is how we approach this verse:
We imagine a field in the distance. You are looking down at it from a nice air-conditioned building, where you sit by a large window. The field is bright yellow and the wheat is really tall. It’s a sunny day and the grain has grown so heavy on the head of the wheat that it’s beginning to bend over. If it’s not picked soon, it’s going to fall to the ground and be wasted. And from your birds-eye view you can see a few people, wearing hats to protect them from the sun. And they have baskets that they are slowly filling up. But the field is huge. They’ll never get it done.
Now you sense the urgency of the situation. You realise these people need some help. So you stop looking out the window and put down your icy lemonade, and you call over your shoulder to the person who owns the field – “hey – they need some help down there!” Then satisfied you go back to sipping your lemonade through your straw.
But this view is all wrong. We aren’t looking down at the field. We are in the field.
Imagine this instead: You are standing amongst the wheat. It’s bright yellow and the stalks are as tall as you. They brush against your cheek as you walk around. The smell of fresh grain is everywhere and every now and then you pick some, rub it between your fingers and eat it. Your hat keeps the hot sun from your face but the basket in your hand is getting heavy. As you pause to look around you feel overwhelmed. The harvest is so plentiful; you realise you will need more help to get it in.
In the distance you see an air-conditioned house. As you squint up into the sunlight it looks like the house is packed. Every room is full of people drinking icy lemonade. And you call out to the owner of the field – “hey- I need some help here. Can you send those people down?”
We are praying for workers from the field. Are baskets are full and the task is urgent. We need other Christians to come join us, and for others to believe and join us in harvesting.
The harvest is ready. It’s in our workplace, it’s in our street, it’s in our Youth and our schools and our sporting club. And if you pray for workers, you aren’t praying for missionaries, you are praying for the Christians in your neighbourhood. Everyday people who know the saving grace of Jesus. And once you get started, you are going to realise how vast the harvest is and you are going to call out to God, to ask him to send someone to help you harvest.
Why? Because the task is urgent. There is limited time and we want to get the harvest in. We need to pray for workers to join us in Jesus’ mission of bringing in the harvest.