Summary: A plentiful harvest requires seeing eyes, willing hands and a servant’s heart.
Matthew 9: 35 – 10:8 / A Plentiful Harvest
Intro: When my children were little, Sunday after church was the toughest day of the week for me. One particular Sunday, I sat in my chair in front of the TV and pretended to sleep. My kids tried their best to awaken me. Finally, Jon climbed up on my lap, lifted one of my eyelids and said, “Dad, are you in there?” As I stand before this congregation on some Sundays, I want to do what Jon did and ask, “Are you in there? Are you listening? Do you see me?”
I. VS. 36 “When he saw the crowds, . . .” We must open our eyes and look at humanity the way Jesus did, with loving compassion.
A. People were harassed, weary of life, helpless, like sheep w/o a shepherd, w/o hope.
B. There weren’t dressed in their finest, on their best behavior. They were real people with real needs and real hopes.
C. We have the same kind of people around us today: people with real needs, sinners and saints, secretly hoping to find something or someone who will help them. The word HELPLESS in this passage literally means “TO BE CAST DOWN, TO BE THROWN DOWN, TO BE DEJECTED.”
II. VS. 37 “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”
A. Statistics: 80% of a church’s financial resources are provided by 20% of it’s members / 15% of a church’s members are active leaders in 85% of the church’s ministries / avg. church attendance is 40% of the membership / 65% of Americans claim religious affiliation but 85% of the population is unchurched some of whom are referred to as the DECHURCHED – once active but grew disillusioned or burned out. --- The harvest is plentiful!
B. throughout the history of the Church, god has chosen unlikely people to do impossible tasks and has called ordinary people to be His presence. --- they were able to do it because they responded to Christ’s call and to His teachings.
C. VS. 10:1 – “Jesus summoned his disciples and gave them authority. --- Jesus empowered the disciples. Christ Jesus has called you and me! If you don’t feel empowered, you need to get empowered! --- study, pray and study some more!
III. VS 35 – “Jesus went . . . Jesus did not sit on a rock and wait for the people to come to him. HE WENT! And the disciples HE SENT! --- because the harvest was plentiful!
A. VS 10:8 – Three ideas are expressed here – Jesus taught, preached and healed. He did whatever worked with an individual.
B. I wonder what might happen if we were will to do whatever it took to bring someone to Christ? --- It is that important!
C. Begin to recognize situations as opportunities --- start where you are with what you have.
Conclu: A church received a call from a desperate person – father was dying – please send someone to see him? Someone went, ministered – 5 others joined the church --- confessed they had called 4 or 5 other churches but no one came! ---
Having a plentiful harvest means acting and not waiting for someone else to respond first.