Matthew 9:37-38 reads, “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2 states, “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.”
Reading in Matthew and Luke, we see that around this time Jesus had given power and authority to the twelve apostles. It was power over devils and to cure diseases. He sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. Herod already had John the Baptist executed, and some people were telling him that Jesus might be John back from the dead or that he was possibly Elijah the prophet come back.
Around this time Jesus even asked the twelve who the people were saying he was. They answered that some people thought he might be John the Baptist come back or Elijah the prophet. Jesus then turned the question on them, asking them who they thought he was. Peter, without missing a beat, said, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the Living God.”
We also have, around this time, the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes feeding 5,000 men—not to mention women and children—with 12 baskets of leftovers being collected after the meal. The seventy were sent out in pairs by Jesus into the cities he would be visiting. He gave them specific instructions to follow, including telling them to heal the sick in the houses where they would be accepted to stay.
When the seventy returned they were happy that even the devils were subject unto them through Jesus’ name. Jesus told them how he watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning. It was not a big deal to have power over the enemy in Jesus’ name. What was a big deal, and what was something to be happy about, was that their names were written in heaven!
Is your name written in heaven in the Lamb’s book of life? Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ? Do you believe he died for your sins and three days later was resurrected from the dead? Do you put your faith in him for your Salvation? If so, then you are one of the laborers of the great harvest of souls out there who need to hear this Gospel, this good news, that the gift of eternal life is bestowed on any who want it (2 Peter 3:9). The gift of eternal life is the hope of Salvation because the default state of fallen mankind is eternity separated from God. It is Salvation because there is something we are being saved from!
The potential of the harvest is massive and growing each and every day. As of 2013 the human population was supposed to be a little over seven billion with 316 million in the United States alone. That is a big harvest no matter how you look at it. Keep the visual in mind that Jesus used of laborers taking the Gospel to the people like laborers going into a field to harvest wheat because it is still time to work.
In John 4:31-38 Jesus had just spoken to the woman from Samaria at the well when his disciples asked him to eat. Jesus said to them, “I have meat (food) to eat that ye know not of.” Then the disciples asked among themselves if someone had brought him food, but Jesus told them, “My meat (food) is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” Then he pointed out that it was a time to be working when he said, “Say not ye, ‘There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?’ Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”
Jesus was at work harvesting souls into the Kingdom of God by talking to the Samaritan woman at the well. We see the results of the work when she goes back and tells her people about Jesus and how he knew everything about her even though she had never seen him before. Some believed because of what she said, and many more believed after they heard from Jesus themselves (John 4:39-43).
The harvest is bigger today. Too much for one person, and every person has their own abilities through the power of the Holy Spirit to harvest a portion of the giant field. Some can harvest more in a day than others can. It does not matter. Every laborer need to just do his or her part of the field they are assigned to harvest.
Some of us are in the wrong part of the field. We might need to go to that part closer to the horizon where the sun will be setting. Others may need to harvest close to the tree line. Some need to be in the middle of the field. Some harvesters may work well in large groups. Others may have a portion to harvest alone. Some may be just like the seventy, working in pairs in their part of the field.
The field is so large—seven billion and growing—that it can be overwhelming to consider. That is why Jesus told us to pray that the Lord of the harvest will send laborers into the field. You might be in your part of the field barely able to see above the white tips of ripe grain to another part of the field you know is in desperate need of harvesting. That part of the field might represent your family members or other loved ones. You want so bad to work that part of the field, but you are stuck over here at the edges of the field where some other laborers missed some of the grain.
You might be spending a lot of time worrying about that other part of the field so much that you neglect your part of the field right around your ankles. Just keep on working your part of the harvest and pray that Jesus, the Lord of the harvest, will send laborers into the field where your loved ones are at. And, if that part of the field is not yet white and ready for harvest, pray for laborers who will plant the seeds of the Gospel and others who will water, and God will give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)!