Empty White Fields
Our goal as Christ-followers is to learn to be like Jesus. Luckily, Jesus teaches us how to be like Him. His primary mission on earth was to provide salvation. “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost,” he says. (Luke 19.10). He left His home with the Father in heaven to come to the earth and live a spiritually perfect life in non-ideal circumstances. Eventually, this required Him to sacrifice Himself on the cross. Jesus did this because it was necessary for His mission.
Jesus’ teachings also match His goal of providing salvation. Often Jesus is said to have focused on teaching crowds and healing individuals. He was moved with compassion for the “harassed and helpless people” who He describes as “sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9.36). Because of His love, Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9.37-38). This teaching is vital for us to understand if we are going to be like Jesus.
We must realize that there are many who are waiting to hear God’s truth. He says the “harvest is plentiful” meaning there are many just waiting to learn about His salvation. So many people need Jesus’ compassion. They need to know God cares. They need to be exposed to God’s teachings because within those teachings are hope and purpose. Our world is full of those desperate for help. Each day we are surrounded by the “helpless and harassed.“ Every one of us knows these lost sheep. God can help those people.
The problem is that there are not enough people actually sharing the message of hope. While God promises that many are looking, not many are finding because God’s laborers are asleep on the job. We have an incredible joy for which the world searches, yet, we often hide it in our utopias of Christianity. Instead of getting out and sharing the truth, we let the harvest rot and die. If the workers do not get in the field, all of that potential harvest that could be gathered for God’s glory will be ruined.
Jesus tells the disciples they needed to pray for more laborers. We are those laborers. He is “Lord of the harvest” and desires that we go into those fields to do our work. His compassion has led Him to provide salvation for all men (cf. Titus 2.11). Jesus reveals that many would be willing to accept His salvation but they need us. We are needed as servants. We must start serving Him and them.
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says this same statement about fields and laborers, yet after telling them to pray for laborers, He tells them to get to work (cf. Luke 10.3). Too often, we spend our days waiting on someone else to come and do our work for us. This is no more acceptable in the arena of evangelism as it is in field labor. We would be appalled at the idea of a servant causing other servants to do his work while he sat about piddling and wasting time.
Yet, this is exactly what we do sometimes in evangelism. We hire a man to do the work God has commanded the whole congregation to do. We should be willing to talk to our neighbors, friends, and family. Each of us will have more effect in our own circle of influence than some hired stranger.
This is what is so great about East Shelby. Not only do we have a group of eight elders who are enthusiastic about harvesting the fields, but they have a heart for each member of the congregation getting involved in the work. They did not hire someone to do evangelism. They hired someone to come and train everyone to evangelize. They want everyone doing their part. So let’s honor their leadership. Let’s obey our Master. Let’s get our hands dirty and get to work. Let’s harvest those white fields for God. Let’s teach the Gospel to all!