The Fields Are Ripe
Updated: Aug 25, 2022
“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.”-In Luke 10:2
For two consecutive years I happened to be chairperson of the Harvest Committee at my local church. During the first year I called together the members of the planning committee. At the very first meeting I outlined to them the task at hand. I also shared the strategy I had formulated to ensure the harvest was a reality and a success. However, when I opened the floor for feedback this was the response I received, “I don’t know how we will have a Harvest at this time as there is nothing in the fields.”
To be honest it was somewhat disappointing hearing such a response as while I understood the difficulties faced especially at that time of the year I wouldn’t have expected such a response from those charged to execute the event. To be honest I also had a few questions lingering in my mind as we had a short timeline to put everything together. Nonetheless, I still found it inappropriate for my committee members to be expressing such doubt at the onset. However, I quickly allayed their doubts and challenged them to reshape their thinking.
As the day of the Harvest drew closer we found we were facing much difficulty in finding food supplies. Therefore, at each committee meeting which followed the same two suggestions were being presented; we should either opt to postpone the Harvest or we opt to cancel the Harvest. After much discussion, however, we concluded that postponement was not an option as it would be summer months would be upon us in a matter of weeks. It meant the only other option was to cancel the program. I was unwilling to recommend cancellation so I suggested we vote the decision. At that suggestion everyone fell silent for a few moments. I guess something happened during that period as the committee members suddenly sprung to life and started recommending several actions. They intoned that a cancellation would reflect poorly on the church. Others spoke of the fact that as a body of believers they had challenges before and still had a grand Harvest. Others spoke of the fact that they had invited several persons to the Harvest Celebration and that news of cancellation would be a big disappointment for them.
In the final analysis we went forward with our plans and had a wonderful Harvest. The irony was as we had such an abundant supply of food items we hardly had any space to store them. Those who attended the harvest had more food than they could afford to take home. When we met again after the service the feedback was, “If more persons had shown commitment then we would have had a more abundant Harvest.”
As a body of believers our attentions have arrested by the Total Member Involvement (TMI) initiative. TMI is a full-scale, world-church evangelistic thrust that involves every member, every church, every administrative entity, every type of public outreach ministry, as well as personal and institutional outreach. It is a calendar-driven, international soul-winning plan that discovers the needs of families, friends, and neighbours. Then it shares how God fulfils every need, resulting in church growth, with a focus on retaining, preaching, sharing and discipline.
Today we are all called to be partakers in reaping the Lord’s harvest. In Luke 10:2 Jesus told his disciples, “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.” As the Lord’s workmen, how are we to accomplish this great work? Are we passionate about the saving of souls? Then if we are how will we be qualified for such an undertaking? There are three prerequisites:
An infilling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-8)
In order to be equipped for service we need an infilling of the Holy Spirit. After completing his mission here on Earth, Jesus instructed His disciples to remain in Jerusalem for them to receive the promise of the Father which was the gift of the Holy Spirit. Their waiting was not an idle, aimless wait. It was a time to be spent in deep meditation and penitent soul-searching.
The disciples spent the time in prayer, confessing their faults to each other while seeking the forgiveness of their fellow brethren. By remaining in Jerusalem they became united and reliant on the power of God to transform their lives.
Cultivating a relationship with God: An active devotional life
Additionally, we must cultivate a relationship with God. We’re able to develop a relationship with God only by means of an active devotional life. It cannot be over emphasized the importance of morning and evening devotion. It is our divine appointment with God which must be kept. Should we seek to receive of the Lord’s bounties we should be knowledgeable o the fact that he will only bestow His gifts on those who are called by His name. In Matthew 11:28, 29 we find the Saviour’s invitation, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
The church of Christ may be fitly compared to an army. The life of every soldier is one of toil, hardship, and danger. On every hand are vigilant foes, led on by the prince of the powers of darkness, who never slumbers and never deserts his post. Whenever a Christian is off his guard, this powerful adversary makes a sudden and violent attack. Unless the members of the church are active and vigilant, they will be overcome by his devices.
“What if half of the soldiers in an army were idling or asleep when ordered to be on duty; the result would be defeat, captivity, or death. -Testimonies, Volume 5, p. 394
Maintain an active prayer life (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Similarly, we need to maintain an active prayer life. Says Whitney Hinckley, “The bible tells us to pray without ceasing which means we should maintain an active and continuous prayer life. At no point should we ever stop praying…” Prayer should be a part of who we are as a people. It’s a natural outpouring of our hearts to God. When we pray we receive power to do great works. - Matthew 9:14-29
It is somewhat surprising and quite unsettling to know that there are so many…who refuse to pray saying they don’t understand how prayer works. Yet there are many other things whose workings we are ignorant to which we seem not to have a problem engaging in. I don’t fully understand how my refrigerator works to turn water into ice cubes, but I still use it. I don’t fully understand how the internet works, but I still use it. I don’t even understand how my washing machine works to get my laundry done, but I still use it. We don’t need to know everything about something to fully appreciate that something. According to Mark Finley, “When God’s people are on their knees praying something happens that does not happen when we do not pray.”
Our God is a loving God who doesn't impose himself on us. He respects our freedom of choice which He will never ever violate. In fact He’s limited by that freedom of choice. He knows our needs and our desires, but we need to place them before him so he may act on our behalf. As such, whenever we pray the Lord respects that freedom of choice and he pours out his conduit of blessings as a result.
Thus, having fulfilled the three prerequisites to carrying out God’s mission we need to employ Jesus’ four point model
He mingled with the people- we have to make contact with humanity if we are ever to influence them for Christ. If we are aloof then we won’t be make friends.
He ministered to their needs- the world is filled with persons who have different needs to be met. We need to be willing to put our needs aside and reach out to others.
He won their confidence- the world will only believe in us when we consistently se standards and abide by them. Likewise, we need to be sincere. If we are lacking in sincerity then our influence will be ineffective.
He introduced himself to them- we are not called to be friends of the world but rather to present the love of Christ to them. Our every aim should be to share with the world a knowledge of Christ. After all we are both the salt of the earth and the light of the world.