Summary: We must work hard to tell others about God then we will reap our reward in Heaven.
The Harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. This is a powerful piece of scripture that just seemed to jump out of the page at us. To me it speaks volumes. To me it says there is a lot of work to be done but not many of us wanting to do it. When I was a young lad on our family farm the harvest was hard work. In my grandparent’s generation, it was even harder. We relied on extra help from friends and family and we all pulled together to get the hay in on time before the autumn months arrived. That was a special time. Although it was hard work we had a great time, a time of cementing friendships and acquaintances. We laughed and talked about all sorts of things and of course there were the harvest picnics that my grandmother brought to the field. Sandwiches made with egg and salad cream, home-made cake and a home brewed herb beer in stone flagons. These were halcyon days. But the one thing that sticks in my mind is the enjoyment of working together to get the job done. Jesus knew that the time was right to send disciples out to tell people about God. He told them “It’s going to be hard; you are going to come up against some tough circumstances and strong opposition. You will be like lambs among wolves, frightened and having to watch their back all the time. He knew that there would be opposition to them preaching a new message. There were three things that I thought about when I read these words of scripture:
1. We need workers
2. We have to go out into the field to reap the harvest
3. Hard work brings rewards
We need workers. If we all just go to church each Sunday and sit there and praise God then walk out saying thank you very much, then eventually we will end up a dead church. We have to work hard at trying to get others to join us. Don’t be mistaken it is right and proper to praise God but we have to involve others and we have to get involved ourselves in the community. It’s another step that we have to take. It is very easy to become detached from other people and remain in our comfort zone... We need to have other people join us to do God’s work. We have to speak about our faith to other and tell them how it makes us feel. This can be hard and make us feel embarrassed, but we should not think like this. To believe in God is something to be proud of, it is a way of life. It is society that has made us feel apprehensive about talking openly about our faith to others and apprehension is one of the hurdles we have to overcome. This past week it has been the flower festival in our village Church at Biggin and I have seen people, from the village, coming along to help who I have never seen before. People who have given up their free time to greet people as they arrive at the church, people who have arranged the flowers, made cups of tea, ran stalls or played the organ. Everyone has done a little bit to make the whole event a great success. The work has been hard and painful (after sitting on an organ stool for several hours I can assure you that you begin to ache all over) but it was worth it. People wanted to get involved and they enjoyed helping. I have talked to a lot of people this week and have been encouraged by the stories of outreach that is happening all across the world, stories of voluntary work with drug addicts and alcoholics. I have also talked to people who have had the ability to tell the gospel story as though they were there alongside Jesus. Jesus appointed 72 people to go ahead of him to prepare the way for him and to tell people what was about to happen. When a circus or fair comes to town there are posters advertising the fact that they will be arriving weeks before they come. Another example is the signs that are out advertising Bakewell show.
This is what Jesus was doing he was getting people’s attention and making them ready to hear his message. He was preparing the way. Can you imagine it a stranger walks up to you and says ”I have something fantastic and exciting to tell you there is a man coming this way in a few weeks time who is really worth listening to. He’s one of those people that you find fascinating to listen to and want to hear more of. He also speaks a lot of sense and is going to tell you about what happens to you when your life on this earth ends, and about a loving and forgiving God. Now no one has ever been able to tell us that before. By the way he will tell you that whatever you have done wrong it will be forgiven by this great God. No need for costly offerings anymore just to admit before him that you have done wrong and you will be forgiven.”