“Jesus went through all the towns and, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” (Matthew 9:35-38)
There are two groups in this story for which you and I ought to pray. First, we ought to pray for those who are harassed and helpless in our community, those without a shepherd, those who don’t know Jesus, who haven’t experienced his compassion, those who are lost! Pray for that person living next door who in desperation is calling out to God, “Help me and I’ll get my life straightened out!” Plead the case of the person down the street from this building who’s thinking, “God, if you want me to go to church, work it out.” Weep over the person who is rebelling against God with all their might! See the lost as Jesus sees them and have compassion! If that is not your usual reaction to the pain that sinners are experiencing, pray for yourself. Pray that God would give you his heart for the lost! He loved lost people so much gave his Son to die for them. He still loves them with that same “at all costs” love today! Let his love change you and your attitude toward those without salvation.
The second group we’re supposed to pray for is harvest laborers. We’re not talking those custom cutter guys with their multiple combines. I’m not telling you not to pray for them. I’m just saying that’s not who Jesus is talking about here. He’s talking about those who will take the good news to others. He’s talking about those who will be compassionate toward the lost. He’s talking about you and me and all those who have chosen to follow him.
You see, here’s the truth! When you pray that the Lord would send out harvesters, you’re volunteering. Don’t believe me? Check out the beginning of chapter 10. Assuming Matthew’s account is chronological, we see the twelve sent out to do ministry in chapter 10. Jesus says, “Pray for laborers because there are so few.” The next thing you know, the disciples go. Did they pray for harvesters? It doesn’t say they did, but it could at least be implied.
When was the last time you prayed for either the lost or for God to send harvest hands out? Are you willing to go to a world in need of a Savior?
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