Summary: Jesus tells us that the Harvest is Plentiful and the workers few. He then names the disciples who are workers. We have too many un-named followers in the church and not enough named disciples.
"CAN I GIVE THEM YOUR NAME?"
PETER, ANDREW, JAMES, JOHN, PHILIP, BARTHOLOMEW, THOMAS, MATTHEW, JAMES, THADDEAUS, SIMON, AND JUDAS
These Are The Twelve Disciples. They are listed here, in this text, by name. These are the faithful, core members of Jesus church. For all practical purposes this is the Church Council, this is the inner circle, these are the men who get things done, the true builders of the kingdom, the real followers of Jesus, the disciples, the workers.
But this list does not include all who followed Jesus.
Time and again we read of great crowds following Jesus. Often times the text will even refer to other people as disciples. But the thing is, that, often these other people, the text tells us, would fall away; either because of some hard teaching of the kingdom that they couldn’t accept, because Jesus was not becoming the revolutionary leader they wanted, or sometimes because Jesus refused to be their personal miracle machine. Countless times the text will tell us of great crowds of disciples, followers of Jesus, nameless disciples, who would eventually leave the church of Jesus. Then Jesus would retreat with the twelve, the disciples who are named, the faithful, the core members, the steadfast.....the workers...
And this often gives me a sense of comfort, that Jesus Had The Same Problems With His Church That We Have With The Church Today. Because the truth is, in most every church there are those who are named and there are those who, at least as far as the kingdom of God is concerned, are nameless. There are those who are the core members of a church, the true builders of the kingdom, the real followers of Jesus,
the disciples...the workers...And there are those who we know more by face then by name. Because they prefer to remain anonymous. Their involvement as disciples is limited, and often they will fall away;
either because of some conflict or some change they don’t like.
Now Sometimes God moves in their hearts and they mature in their faith and they gain a name. They become builders of the kingdom of God. But more often then not, as far as ministry and actually building God’s kingdom, they are not named. And that is why these words ring so true today....as true as they did with the church of Jesus.
THE HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL BUT THE WORKERS ARE FEW!
Now For Some of You Here Today, This Message Might
Make You A Little Uncomfortable. Others of you may be tempted to puff up your chest and look smugly around the congregation. For various reasons, we don’t all participate equally in the ministries of the church. This is not something that is up for debate, it’s a fact! But understand right now that my purpose is not to make anyone feel uncomfortable, nor do I set out to pat you on the back. The Thing Is God loves all of us. God loves the faithful as well as the faithless. Everyone can’t serve equally in ministry, because we are not equal but we’re different. Some of us are more talented then others, some of us have more time then others, some of us are farther along in our faith journey then others. But none of that changes the fact that Jesus is right.
The Harvest Is Plentiful and The Workers Are Few
Let me give you some statistics to prove my point.
80% of the financial resources of a church are provided by 20% of it’s members..
85% of the ministries of the church have active leadership participation by less then 15% of the members. In a large church with multiple staff that number drops to less then 10% because the membership rationalizes that either the staff can do it better
or we don’t need to do it because that’s what we pay them for.
And a churches average worship attendance is less then 40% of the actual membership. I’m not making this up these are actual statistics. True, they are generalized, but more often then not they are so right on the money, that it’s almost scary. The Workers are few!
The Harvest Is Plentiful!
65% of the people in the United States Claim Some kind of Christian Religious Affiliation, Yet, 85% of the population is Unchurched, which means they enter through the doors of a church no more then two times a year, or not at all.
Most of that 85%, though they claim a Christian
heritage, have not been baptized, can’t tell anyone else how to really know God and often doubt the existence of God.
And some of that 85% are people who are now
being referred to as De-Churched. At one time they were very active in a church. They may have even had a name. But they grew disillusioned or burned out