Matthew 9:37-38 – Then [Jesus] 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." (NIV)
This summer, I had an opportunity to visit my friend who, with her husband, volunteers at a Christian retreat camp as caretaker. As we casually strolled over the rolling property, she pointed to a wooded area down the hill. "That's the orchard," she explained. However, I did not see an orchard. "Where?" I asked. Again, she pointed at the wooded area. But looking down, I saw only a field that was overgrown with lush weeds and tall bushes. "Is that an orchard?" I wondered out loud. "Yes," my friend reassured me, "but the weeds have taken over. No one had time to maintain it. By now, it has become impossible to pick the apples." Then I saw. The fruit trees looked like mere bushes amidst the lavish weeds.
On the drive home, I had time to process the haunting impression that the overgrown orchard had left with me. How many figurative orchards that I should have looked after are overgrown with weeds? How many spiritual fields that I should have harvested have become inaccessible due to my negligence? I could think of a few. I have taken detours around people whom I know very well, but whose burdens seem too painful for me to share. Rather than helping them with their burdens and sharing the hope of Jesus, I stayed in my comfort zone. Paralyzed by insecurities, I have walked away from people who were receptive to the good news of Jesus. There are still other persistent weeds that prevent me from being effective in the field during the time of harvest.
These painful considerations made me realize how dependent we field workers are on the power of the Lord of the harvest. There are willing workers, but many are ineffective. They are sidetracked by other duties. They lack the strength to withstand the heat of the day and the exhaustion of the late afternoon.
But the Lord of the harvest is keen to answer their prayers for support. He removes their weakness when they remember His strength. He makes the weeds of unproductiveness disappear when they focus on His harvest. When they are labouring in the field, they notice how many people are working beside them. To their joy and relief, they realize that neither the accessibility of the harvest nor the number of field workers depend on them.
The most wonderful truth unfolds before their eyes. The Lord prepares His harvest by ripening immature hearts into hearts that are ready to accept Jesus as Saviour and bring forth fruits of righteousness. Are we prepared to harvest them?
Prayer: Dear Lord of the harvest, we thank You that You have opened our hearts to receive our Lord Jesus. Humbly, we ask that You would make us willing to leave our comfort zones and enter unfamiliar territory with the call to follow Jesus. Enable us to work in the field that You have prepared for the harvest. In our Saviour's name, we pray. Amen.
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