Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lord of the Harvest

In a recent post “Here I Am, Send Me” I talked about the spiritual process necessary to inspire men and women to want to join God in His mission for this world. That mission is commonly called The Great Commission, and the word “commission” already gives us a hint as to how it all gets going. The Great Commissioner is the starting point, and He is Jesus, the Lord of the harvest.

However, I still find myself leaning on human understanding as to how I can motivate people to go – actually for me it is to “come” to Ukraine. I can use multimedia and tourism methods that show how beautiful Ukraine is, but the novelty will wear off once someone has ridden enough times with 50 people in a bus that was built for 25. Winter here will also send you packing unless something other than adventure is the motivation.

Ukraine is not unique in this aspect because all who seek to increase the number of missionaries on the field are in the same proverbial boat – seemingly without a net I might add. How can we better motivate people? To that question I have discovered a truth that is so simple it is often drowned out by the background noise of human missionary activity.

And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Luke 10:2

First and foremost the harvest is presided over by Jesus. He is not only Lord of our lives, but He is Lord over the harvest. This implies that this realm called the harvest is His work place, and He governs everything from the finances, sowers, reapers and fishermen to the wheat & fish (people) who are brought into His kingdom.

Second is that He is more aware of the need than we are. He loves the lost more than we do, and He does not rest in His labor while there are nations that are still outside the saving grace of His kingdom.

Third is that He asks us to ask Him to send more workers. This is very odd indeed from my point of view. It is one of the few times in scripture where God tells us in detail what is needed, and then tells us to ask Him for it. I believe that another reason He confines the sending of new leaders to the simple process of our asking Him is that He wants to keep missions as a work of grace that glorifies Him and not the talents and abilities of men. In this context anyone can be a missionary, not just talented people!

Finally, there is a peaceful rest in this one verse for all Christians who love God and the harvest. Our responsibility is before God and not before ever-demanding man who too often only wants results at any cost. We need to simply ask Him in faith for workers and go on our way faithfully preaching the gospel and equipping those who have heeded the call to serve. It is God’s responsibility to do the commissioning and sending.
Ps 127:1,2

I preached a message based on my post “Here I Am, Send Me” last week at a conference in Novodnistrovsk, Ukraine. One young woman – the daughter of one of the pastors – came up to me afterwards and said she wanted to join our church planting team. She said that God warmed her heart as I was sharing. Another young youth leader also wants to join me in about a year. I did not know these people, but God did. He knows many more, so let’s join together and ask Him for the very thing that He wants us to ask Him. We can’t go wrong in this.

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