If you have gone into a restaurant or waited in line at the post office lately, you may have noticed that there are significant staffing shortages. Some restaurants have gone so far as to offer people $50 simply to apply for a job. There is great demand for good employees right now. The present need reminds me of a greater shortage that Jesus spoke about:
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).
Jesus traveled from town to town, working. His work is described in the passage above: he taught the truth about God in the synagogues of the people –like our present-day churches. He specifically taught them the good news of the Kingdom of God, that God was bringing His blessing to the people and coming near to them. To confirm this message, God enabled Jesus to heal people of all manner of diseases and sicknesses.
He did not just work at the synagogues, but he went to people who were in need everywhere. So many were in need. Jesus—the Son of God and God Himself—felt the burden. There were so many people who needed help! The fields are ripe, and it was time to harvest.
Jesus first tells his disciples to open their eyes to see the need. Jesus is God, but by grace he confined himself to a human body to save humans. There were more people who needed him than he could reach himself. But Jesus did not intend to reach them all himself. Instead, his plan was that in his body, the church, is the potential for many workers.
Once they see the need, Jesus gives them a second step: Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers in his harvest field. God certainly is calling you to be a worker—but He is also calling you to pray for the legion of workers which are needed to bring in His full harvest.
This gives me great assurance when I consider the overwhelming need around us. God has the power to raise up workers, if only we will ask Him. If we pray for this, we are praying the very heart of Jesus Himself. There is no other need or mission which is more important than this.
YBL Birmingham has continued to pray for workers and to disciple businessmen all the way through COVID. This month we are able to have our first public events in nearly a year. The last year has produced great need, and by God’s grace, made more people aware of their needs. Please pray with us for God not only to ripen the wheat, but to mobilize workers for this great harvest!