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. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field (Matt. 9:35-38).”
Harvest is the process of gathering all the mature crops or produce that has been cultivated year round and ready to be used. The harvest is recognized as the end of the growing season or cycle and is considered to be the most labor-intensive activity for farmers. For example, they must cool, sort, clean, and then pack all of their produce to the consumer market within a limited time. I have a friend who is a farmer, and during the harvest, he can work anywhere between 60-70 hours a week.
Jesus is telling his disciples that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. In other words, there are many people in the world ready and ripe to hear the gospel message that Jesus saves sinners. Broken and helpless people who are suffering from depression, anxiety, fear, difficult relationships, addiction, and countless other issues are looking for the Good Shepherd to guide them on the right path, but they are lost and confused. Who will help them?
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, calls His people to go into the world, spread the seeds of the gospel, and labor and toil for men so they can have a right relationship with the Creator of the universe. Unfortunately, there are so few laborers. Why does Jesus tell us that not many are willing to serve the Kingdom of God and toil for the souls of men? Shouldn’t we toil day and night? Don’t we have much work to be done, with every season being harvest time?
Application: I want to encourage you to meditate on this passage: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Then, ask yourself: How can I toil for the souls of this world? Here are some examples.
1. Build relationships with your sphere of influence. This could be in your family, at work, in your neighborhood. Think of ways where you can demonstrate the love of God in a practical way and then tell them about your own salvation experience.
2. When you are traveling, in public, or at a restaurant, ask God for an opportunity to share the gospel. When I worked at IHOP as a waiter in college, an elderly couple left a tract with a tip. I read through the tract, was encouraged, and ended up visiting their church. Make sure that if you leave a tract, you give a generous tip.
3. If you lack confidence in sharing your faith, start with prayer. Begin to pray that God would change the heart of your lost friend, neighbor, or co-worker. Then, read a few books on evangelism, such as Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever and The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman. You may still be nervous when you share the gospel, but trust in God and He will help you overcome your fears.