Waiting For ...
Harvest is the Word of the week. The Harvest is spoken of throughout the Bible. The Harvest of first fruits. The Harvest promise that God spoke after the flood. Joseph ended up in Egypt to collect the Harvest. The Harvest is a critical part of the process that helps Ruth locate her Kinsman Redeemer. From the minor prophets to the major prophets and all over the New Testament there are themes of the Harvest. Fields, grapes and good fruit. Jesus calls each of us to be fruitful workers in the Harvest field. As Jesus is sending out a group of disciples, people just like you and me, He says these words. Luke 10:2 The Voice "There’s a great harvest waiting in the fields, but there aren’t many good workers to harvest it. Pray that the Harvest Master will send out good workers to the fields." The Harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Here's my question. Who are the workers and why are there so few of them? As we read here in Matthew 10:40-42 (MSG) "We are intimately linked in this harvest work." We, you and me, we are the workers. Yep. It's us. As we continue reading, we find these words: "Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help." Acceptance. It's what we all crave. We want to be accepted for who we are. 'Just As I Am'...that old hymn is floating around in my head. Me ( and I mean you too). Just me, with all my flaws and failures. Just me, with all my gifts and abilities. Just me. Acceptance means all of that and so much more. Me. Just as I am, covered by the Blood of Jesus. Me. Accept me and you accept Jesus. Accept Jesus and you accept God. Accept God's messenger and you'll become God's messenger. Accept help and you'll give help. Oh, we have so much to learn from that last sentence. Accepting help can be very difficult. We want to be strong and do it all ourselves. When we learn to lean into and on God, we learn that we don't have to walk alone. Ever. There are others, other workers. Others that can and will share the burdens and celebrate the joys with you. In the final section of this passage Jesus gives us these words.
"This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.” Start small. 'The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice.' A disciple. Small steps. Small beginnings. Don't be overwhelmed. Take it slow and easy. It will get easier and easier. You have nothing to lose. Let's go back to the beginning of this passage. "We are intimately linked in this harvest work." We, that is you and me, we are the workers. The workers are few and we are the workers. Where are we? What are we doing? What are we waiting for? The Word clearly calls us to be workers in the Harvest field. When we have an opportunity to be part of an outreach group, a ministry project or serve on a ministry team, is our first inclination to embrace the opportunity and say "Yes! Sign me up!"
Many times we automatically reply with answers like: my calendar is too full already, I don't have that kind of gift, I have other obligations that take precedent or that's just not for me. Don't get me wrong, a NO is sometimes the best answer. Many times those who are working in the ministry field have trouble getting that all important word 'NO' out of our mouths. That inability is only good if you intend to head towards burnout. 'NO' can sometimes be the most appropriate answer. However, if 'NO' is always your go-to answer, then you are not working in the Harvest field. If you've come to realize that your standard or automatic reply is always 'NO', it might be time to re-evaluate your opportunities. It shouldn't be 'NO' every time. It may be time; time to get up. Small beginnings begin by getting up. No more sitting on the sidelines, or warming the bench. The workers are few because we aren't out there working. Pray. Ask God to help (there's that word again) you find your niche. Your part of the field where you can do the most good. It's out there. Jesus tells us that it can be as simple and easy as passing out water. Whatever it is, it's out there. What are you waiting for? Somewhere out there in the Harvest field is your part of the plan. 'There’s a great harvest waiting in the fields.' It's waiting for you.