In Matthew 9, we see Jesus doing Jesus things… Healing, calling someone to leave behind the life he knew to become a disciple, teaching, and… a lot more healing. The legalists among His people hated what they saw happening because Jesus didn’t seem to fit their paradigm or follow their playbook – and he certainly wasn’t limited by their sense of propriety and power.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”– Matthew 9:36-38
His people were unknowingly living in the light of a Kingdom so imminent they could see it breaking through if they’d only look. But like sheep with no one to direct their attention they steadily grazed on, oblivious to the LIFE that was right there with them. Jesus knew they were close, and he knew he only had a handful of disciples to show them the Kingdom they were missing, and he knew he only had a few years to train those disciples how to reveal the Kingdom.
So he told them to pray.
“You guys have a lot of work to do… better pray that God sends some help.”
We usually connect this line to the actual harvest, the moment of reaping. But before a harvest can happen, doesn’t a crop have to be nourished? Before it’s nourished, doesn’t it have to be planted? And before seeds are planted, doesn’t the soil have to be tilled and maybe amended in some way to be ready for the seeds?
Workers aren’t just the harvesters in this metaphor. Every moment of the process of the Kingdom coming involves different work. And every step needs workers. Sometimes workers need to do different work for a different season.
Are you tilling any ground right now? Planting any seeds? What are you nourishing in the people around you? Every disciple today is the result of others praying this prayer and doing the work God called them to. Who were those people for you? Who made sure the soil of your life was ready to receive the seed of His Kingdom? Who planted those seeds?
Take some time this month to get in touch and tell them thanks.
Then, be the answer to Jesus’ and the disciples’ prayer – work to reveal the Kingdom the world is crying out for. And join them in praying for God to send some more workers…