Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "God Sees The Little Sparrow Fall"1 (Lyrics)
There is an abundance of farmland where we live in southern Ontario, Canada. The farmers grow mostly wheat, corn, soybeans, and hay. Most of the hay is baled in round bales that measure four feet (120 cm) across and five feet (150 cm) in diameter. This summer, as we drove past some of these hay fields, there seemed to be many more bales than in years past. I checked with a couple of farmers, and they confirmed that that is indeed the case — twice as much in some places.
Some of the hay is used by the farmers who have cattle or sheep, but much of it is sold to people who keep horses. In my innocence, I thought that those who sell it would be smiling all the way to the bank, but I was wrong. The price per bale is about half of what it was last year. There is a big surplus, and there are actually hundreds of bales still lying in the fields. It is all about supply and demand, and there is no demand for it right now.
Recently, I had some correspondence with a person knowledgeable about the shortage of ministers of the gospel, and I learned that many of our churches are vacant and have trouble finding worship leaders to fill the pulpit on a Sunday morning. Many programs such as Bible studies and vacation Bible schools have been cancelled because of the lack of leaders. Shut-ins and people in hospitals and long-term care centres are not getting the pastoral visits that they would normally get. Mind you, elders and volunteers continue to do the work of the Lord as much as they are able.
A shortage of workers was also a problem when Jesus was ministering on earth. There was only so much that He could do by Himself.
Matthew 9:35-38 – Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." (NKJV)
Immediately after this, Jesus sent His twelve disciples ahead of Him into the towns and villages.
As we see the decline in attendance in our churches and the lack of interest by so many people, young and old alike, it is incumbent on those who are able to bring the gospel to those who want to hear. The supply of leaders may have diminished, but the demand is still there, and paid professionals can do only so much. I believe that the church is being sifted these days. Each of us needs to see where we can serve and step in whenever and wherever we can.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we realize that there is a need for leaders in the church, and we pray that more people will step forward to do Your work. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.