The Workers Are Few
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”
Most of us have had jobs that needed help. We’ve had tasks at home or at work where we just didn’t have enough help. As I recover from shoulder surgery – I can cut my grass but I cannot hoist the weed whacker onto my shoulders and trim – so – today – my son-in-love will come by and give me a hand. We all need help from time to time.
When was the last time you needed help accomplishing something? Maybe it was after surgery – maybe it was a task that just too more than two hands. Maybe you needed someone to hold one end of a board while you nailed the other end? Maybe it was something too heavy for one person to lift? Maybe it was the time you fell and needed help getting up?
In today’s passage – Jesus reminds His disciples that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Jesus was referring to the harvest of souls – kingdom work that needed many to help. He was encouraging His disciples to not only join the work of bringing souls into the kingdom but to draw others to join the harvest as well.
Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 9:35–38 – 35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
It is typical in many churches that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. In other words – many simply take and few give. Another way of saying this is – many attend worship or other church activities – while few help make worship and other activities possible. In some churches – people think the hired staff is paid to do the work. In some churches – the mindset is – as long as things are going well – they don’t need my help.
If a church can do amazing things with 20% doing most of the work – what would our churches look like if 50% of the people joined in doing the work of the kingdom? What would they look like if 80% joined in the work of kingdom building? What if more people stepped up to help keep the facility clean and in good repair? What if more people stepped up to host or lead small groups or educational groups? What if more people tithed? What if more people attended more than worship? What if more people helped reach out into the community in mission projects? What if more people stepped up to serve in the church? What an amazing church we could have for Jesus. I imagine if more people helped serve our Lord – more people could be reached for our Lord!
President John F. Kennedy famously said – My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. What if we were to ask not what our church or Lord can do for us – but ask what could we do for our church or Lord? What if more of us were givers rather than takers? The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.
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