Growing up on a farm has many downsides; hard physical labor, uncooperative weather, sick animals, diseased crops or just the daily routine of chores. But farm work is not without great pleasures or rewards. Few days anywhere can match the beauty and splendor of a sunrise or sunset over an open field ready for harvest. Imagine a golden wheat field with the orange hues of the near-horizon sun cascading over it. Tips of golden grain lift their heads and sparkle in the sunlight as if begging to be harvested for food. As a boy, I recall the sensation of anticipation that filled everyone’s heart before harvest time. Every farmer knows that harvest time is hard work from the earliest dawn hours to the latest shadows of sunset. But for all the hard work, harvest time brings the greatest sense of joy and fulfillment. What was planted as a seed is finally ready to be gathered as fruit for food.
During the peak of Jesus’ Galilean ministry, He walked from village to village proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God, healing the sick, raising the dead and delivering the demonized. Jesus mostly ministered in rural villages to the needs of common people. The Bible tells us that He was drawn to them with compassion because “they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). The weight of human ignorance about God, the pain of human suffering, the disaster of death and the destruction of sin caused Jesus to be filled with compassion for people. Caring for the most pressing needs of people is one of the greatest qualities of Jesus. He was moved by people’s struggles, tensions, failures, and stresses. Jesus cared that people felt trapped and helpless in their situations. This is how Jesus is with all of us today. He knows what you are facing, He feels what distresses you, and He has compassion on you. This is evidence of His love.
Love and compassion feel great, but there is so much more to Jesus than temporarily identifying with us in our painful needs. Jesus DID the one thing for us that could solve our main underlying issue thoroughly and eternally: Jesus suffered and died in our place to lift the burdens of sin, suffering, Satan and the grave from us. “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). The gospel of the kingdom is that God sent His only Son to pay the ransom price for our sins so that we could have everlasting life and live forever under the loving lordship of the King of kings. The blessings of being forgiven and adopted into the family of God for all eternity are so good that they extend beyond what human imagination is equipped to handle. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (I Corinthians 2:9) If the benefits of being in the kingdom of God are so astounding (and they are) then why wouldn’t everyone want to hear about them?
This is where Jesus speaks to you and me with this challenge: “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest’” (Matthew 9:37-38). Try to imagine Jesus walking along a rural road that separated two fields that were ripe for harvest. After a long and tiring day of caring for people, Jesus stopped and turned to His disciples with a new message. JESUS DELEGATES THE TASK OF BRINGING IN THE HARVEST TO HIS DISCIPLES! This is a revolutionary moment in Jesus’ ministry and a new dawning in the lives of His disciples. Up to this point, the disciples were along for the ride, but now Jesus called them to sit in the co-pilot’s seat with Him. Jesus called them with a FACT: The harvest is plentiful. Jesus called them with a NEED: The laborers are few. Jesus called them with a COMMAND: Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest. And Jesus called them with an OPPORTUNITY: Be a laborer in the task of harvesting.
This fall at Cornerstone is an opportunity for us to enter into the highest work of God, harvesting the broken lives of common people who are like sheep, harassed and helpless. I believe that as we enter another year of ministry, Cornerstone is facing a new frontier of being God’s harvest crew in a sin-sick world. If we are going to take this challenge seriously we will need to face these priorities:
First, the harvest is plentiful. Opportunities to share the gospel abound. Our job is to see it as ready for harvest. That is a step of faith in a highly secular world, but an essential step before harvesting can commence.
Second, the laborers are few. Sadly, most Christians have never led anyone to Christ. This is not to shame you but to encourage you to get ready to share the gospel and become part of the harvest crew.
Third, harvesting souls for God always begins on the foundation of prayer. Only God can graciously work within someone to change the human heart. Prayer is our part and is a condition to seeing the power of God move someone to accept Christ.
Fourth, being a laborer in God’s harvest field is the greatest opportunity on earth. There is nothing more important than the eternal salvation of a single soul. The Bible reveals that the angels of heaven rejoice over just one sinner who comes to repentance (Luke 15:10). And what is fascinating to me is what the Bible says about those who God uses to bring someone to faith in Jesus. In Daniel 12:3 it says, “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
It is my expectation and prayer that this fall at Cornerstone will begin our greatest time of spiritual harvesting. Start preparing for the harvest now. Begin with a vision adjustment to see the need. Realize that laborers like you are needed. Then start praying for those you know who are lost and without faith in Jesus. Finally, be a laborer by sharing the gospel with others who need to place their faith in Jesus Christ. Join the harvest and rejoice in God’s greatest work on earth.
"Jesus cared that people felt trapped and helpless in their situations. This is how Jesus is with all of us today. He knows what you are facing, He feels what distresses you, and He has compassion on you. This is evidence of His love."
"The blessings of being forgiven and adopted into the family of God for all eternity are so good that they extend beyond what human imagination is equipped to handle."
"This fall at Cornerstone is an opportunity for us to enter into the highest work of God, harvesting the broken lives of common people who are like sheep, harassed and helpless."
"It is my expectation and prayer that this fall at Cornerstone will begin our greatest time of spiritual harvesting. Start preparing for the harvest now."