Monday, August 4, 2014

Lord of the Harvest

Money and prayer- two things so "obvious" about missions as to be clichéd.  You've heard a lesson or two where a visiting missionary is seeking money for their own needs and sometimes for the needs of a school, orphanage, or poverty stricken area.  You've heard or prayed this sentence before too, right?  "Lord please help all those serving in foreign fields."  But do you know that Jesus' direct instruction to his disciples was not to pray FOR missionaries and evangelists (I know that those prayers are greatly appreciated) but to pray for MORE missionaries and evangelists?

In Luke 10, Jesus is preparing 70 of his disciples for a short local mission trip.  Notice these are not sit-on-the-pew, Sunday morning Christians he's talking to.  These are his hand-picked evangelists, and the very first thing he tells them is that there are simply not enough laborers and that they should pray for more. Secondarily he tells them where to stay, what to do, and how to get their support.

In Matthew's account of the words, Jesus' situation is different.  He's the evangelist.  He's been through the cities and towns healing, preaching and casting out demons.  When he pauses long enough to take a good look around, the people's pain hurts him.  So what does he say to the disciples? 
The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest (Matthew 9:37-38).
Missionaries don't come from Christian colleges or seminaries, from Christian families, from mega-churches, purpose driven youth groups, or para-church organizations.  Missionaries come from the Lord of the harvest. In fact, saying that any of these others "produce" missionaries is like saying babies come from hospitals.  That might be where they're born, but it's not where they come from.  

Missionaries are conceived in passionate prayer and incubated in amazing churches. But the Father who opens wombs is the Father who sends reapers out into His harvest.

So let's talk about your prayer life.  If you are preparing to reach those who don't know Him, Jesus wants you to pray for more people to reach out with you.  If you are already out there everyday, feeling compassion for the lost and despairing world, Jesus wants you to pray for more people to be brokenhearted too.  If you're not praying for harvesters, and you are not a harvester either, I'd like you to take a deep breath and think for a moment about obeying the Savior.  Pray.  Not just for missionaries, but also for MORE missionaries. 

And the money?  Where does the money come in?

Let's take our previous analogy one step further.  What would you think of parents who prayed fervently for a baby only to neglect it once it arrived? Blessing turned to burden in a moment?  If we are going to pray for God to send workers into his fields, dare we neglect their care? 

Since I am begging God for reapers, I am responsible for their care. If I ignore, neglect, refuse my support to the very answer to my prayers, I should be ashamed.  
When Jesus went traveling homeless around Judea and Galilee He was supported by kind and wealthy women.  As I read that story, it sparked a thought. We are them. We are the kind and giving women who can keep the harvesters in God's field.

I'd ask you today to join in the great harvest.  Join by praying that the great Lord of the harvest send His reapers into the world.  Ask Him if you might in fact be one of those  reapers.  And make a plan to financial support the answer to those powerful prayers!


*This blog has always been 100% self-supported. Every penny of the money taken in (minus the fees charged by the collecting website) will be distributed to the churches that sponsor these missionaries for their work. 
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission

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