35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38, ESV)
The truths found in this passage can help guide us in carrying out the work of missions:
- There is a Lord of the Harvest.
- All of Jesus’ disciples are to be part of the “sending” and of the “harvesting”.
- His harvest is plentiful.
- Jesus’ disciples are to “pray earnestly” for God to send laborers.
The question is: What are we doing, as Christ’s disciples, about these great truths? God, as Lord of the harvest, has given us his design for bringing in the harvest. (Mt. 28:19-20; Luke 24:47; Mark 16:15) As we pray earnestly we should consider three areas:
I. Our personal relationship with the Lord of the harvest
Our Lord is the source of the authority (Mt. 28:18) and power (Acts 1:8) needed to carry out the mission. If our relationship with Christ is not what it needs to be, we will not go far in accomplishing our mission. If our heart is not right before our Lord, we cannot expect our mission to be successful.
II. Our personal responsibility in the “sending” and the “harvesting”
The mission will be accomplished through sharing the gospel and making disciples, because disciples will naturally reproduce themselves. Yet many churches tend to focus on programs or ministries instead of in making disciples, not realizing that ministries will grow naturally out of the disciples’ desire to love and serve others. If we are not missionally-minded here at home, sharing the gospel and making disciples, we will not be successful in missions.
III. Our personal resolve to complete the mission we were entrusted with
Revelation 5 contains God’s promise that, by his blood, Jesus “ransomed people from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:9,10) We also know from Matthew 9 that the harvest is plentiful – according to Revelation, “a great multitude that no one could number.” (Rev. 7:9) This should encourage us greatly to pursue our mission with great resolve.