Matthew 9:35-38 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching
in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every
sickness and every disease among the people.
36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
37 Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.
If you like action, chapters eight and nine of Matthew should really excite you. They are filled with the miraculous works of Jesus. He healed all manner of sickness and disease, opened blind eyes, delivered those who were possessed of devils, calmed the angry sea, and even raised the dead. Those two chapters are power-packed, one miracle after another.
Verse 36 of our text says that when Jesus looked upon the multitude “He was moved with compassion.” That is the key to ministry. The one thing that hinders ministry more than anything else is a lack of love. Faith is important, but if it is really going to be effective it has to be a “faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6). The needs of others can be met if you have compassion for them, because love is the channel for God’s movings. It is when you are moved with compassion that God can flow through you to meet the need.
Then in verse 37 Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.” How many laborers do we find in those two chapters? Just one! Jesus was doing all the work. He was the only laborer. Then Jesus tells His disciples, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.” What is Jesus really saying? He is saying that He needs some co-workers. He wants others that can do the same thing He is doing.
Here is an important fact about the gospels that is often overlooked. Jesus called twelve men at the beginning of His ministry to be His disciples. They left their former way of life and were with Him continuously throughout His ministry. Now what was Jesus’ most important work? On the surface it would seem that His most important work would be associated with His miracles, restoring the sight of the blind, or raising the dead. Much attention is drawn to the miraculous activity surrounding His ministry, but His main purpose and function involved something else. The most important phase of His ministry was the preparation of His disciples for ministry. He knew that the day would soon come for Him to ascend and that the ministry of Christ had to continue.
Everything Jesus said and did was centered around teaching His disciples. For example, look at the opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount. We usually think of Him teaching a multitude of people who are gathered around Him on the mountainside. There was a multitude present, but notice what Matthew 5:1-2 says. And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: and He opened His mouth, and taught them…
When Jesus looked upon the multitudes and was moved with compassion it was not just those who were present at that particular moment that He was seeing, but He also saw the multitudes down through the ages who were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. He turned to His disciples and said, “The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray that the Lord of harvest will send forth laborers into His harvest.” Jesus was stirred in His heart because He knew that workers had to be created. The ministry of Christ had to continue until the job was completed. Consequently, His main focus was to create a many-membered Body of Christ. And it is still His main focus. God is still waiting for a people to finish the work of Christ.
The fourth chapter of John also speaks of the harvest. Jesus was ministering to the woman at the well while His disciples had gone into a nearby village to get food. After He ministered to the woman, she went back into the city to tell all that had happened to her. Meanwhile, Jesus sat at the well and waited for His disciples. When they returned with food, He would not eat. He said, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of.” In other words, Jesus was being fed and strengthened while doing the will of God. Then He made this statement: 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. John 4:35.
It is the same today. People are still placing God’s harvest in the future. But Jesus is saying, “Lift up your eyes and look; the fields are already white for harvest.” In other words, “Lift up your eyes from the natural realm into the realm of spirit where God is working, and see that the harvest is now. “
It depends on where you are living, where your focus is. If it is on the natural realm, you will only see circumstances. But if you lift up your eyes to the higher realm of spirit, you will see what God is doing. The harvest is ready! It is time for the laborers of harvest to finish the job. We need to lift up our eyes and realize what has to be done. We need a vision of the Lord.
Isaiah had such a vision. He saw the Lord high and lifted up, and His glory filled the temple (Isaiah 6:1-8). And Isaiah said, “Woe is me! For I am done; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” Then a seraphim touched his lips with a hot coal from the altar, and said, “Thy sin is purged.” Then Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And immediately Isaiah said, “Here am I; send me!”
Isaiah had a revelation of the Lord, and that’s what it takes to become a co-laborer with Him. Get those eyes off the natural realm and on the realm of spirit where God is, where there is reality. It is there that you will see the need and the destiny we have in God. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Life is aborted when there is no vision, no goal, and no awareness of reality. People just exist; they don’t live.
We have a decision to make. God is giving us, right now, an opportunity to live. He has opened the door to the heavenly realm. If we lift up our eyes we will see that the fields are already white for harvest. If we desire it, we can have a vision like Isaiah. Open your heart to the Lord and say, “Here I am, Lord! Send me! I want to be a co-laborer with You in the harvest! I want to be a co-creator with You as You bring forth Your Kingdom.”
At some point in time there has to be a people who have a revelation of the Lord and of what He wants us to do – a people who will set their hearts to do it with Him. And we can be that people! Listen to what the Lord is saying: 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 the harvest.
Copyright © 1997 by Henry DuBose