Summary: Jesus proceeded to give the disciples the key to finding laborers. What is the first word of verse 38? “PRAY ye therefore the Lord of the harvest…”
How To Find Laborers For God’s Harvest
1. The context of this passage is found in vs. 35-36. Jesus is very disturbed because He sees multitudes of people that need somebody to care and to show them the way to true life.
• He said, “They have no shepherd.” In other words, they have nobody to care about them – nobody to care for their soul. They were like dying, scattered sheep.
2. Then Jesus said in vs. 37, “The harvest truly is plenteous...”
• In other words, there are plenty of people that need the Lord and need to know about Jesus Christ and what He has done for them. The harvest is plenteous.
3. Then He said, “…but the laborers are few.” This reminds me of what Christ said in Matthew 7:13-14. “Few there be that find it.”
• Few want anything to do with the Lord, but even fewer want to labor for Him in His harvest fields. There will be a special reward in heaven for those who labor to bring people to Christ while on this earth. 1 Corinthians 3:6-8, 14
4. Then Jesus proceeded to give the disciples the key to finding laborers. What is the first word of verse 38? “PRAY ye therefore the Lord of the harvest…”
• The word “pray” means “to beg; to petition; to make request.”
5. Jesus believed in prayer and believed that:
Prayer is the ultimate solution to our problems.
1. Jesus establishes the problem in verse 36-37. The problem is two-fold.
• The first part is that there are multitudes of hurting people that have nobody to care for their soul.
• The second part of the problem is that people aren’t exactly lining up at the door to serve the Lord by caring for people and reaching out to them. The laborers are few.
2. Jesus said, “Pray ye therefore…” I love the “therefore.” It’s as if Jesus is saying, “You have a problem, so it’s obvious what you need to do – pray!”
• Notice that Jesus didn’t give them tips on how to recruit workers or say, “Hey guys, let’s offer these incentives to people if they will labor.” No tricks, no gimmicks, and no course on how to win friends and influence people. He says, “Guys, we have a serious issue. You have to pray.”
3. When you think of Jesus with all of His mighty power to heal people, cast out demons, and even raise the dead, you might think, “With all that power, He didn’t need to pray.”
4. I submit to you that He had all that power to do those mighty things because He prayed so much. Jesus was constantly praying to His Father. Luke 5:16; 6:12; 9:18; 11:1
5. Jesus was encountering problems every day – He was dealing with people’s personal problems, spiritual problems, problems with His disciples, and His own problems (like the scribes and Pharisees always hounding Him, people wanting to kill Him, etc.).
6. Jesus knew that the ultimate solution in dealing with these problems was prayer.
Prayer must be in accordance with the Lord’s will.
1. Notice that Jesus called God “the Lord of the harvest.” At the end of
verse 38, He calls it “his (God’s) harvest.”
2. In other words, it is God’s will that these hurting people be cared for and reached out to. It is His harvest. So when we pray for laborers, we can pray confidently knowing that we are praying right in the center of God’s will.
3. God’s will is revealed in God’s Word. This is why the study of God’s Word (rightly divided) is so crucial. It will help you to pray with greater intelligence and understanding.
4. Sometimes we pray for things that are in clear violation of God’s will, and we cannot expect those prayers to be answered. 1 John 5:14-15
• “Hear” carries the idea of considering. I tell my child, “I don’t want to hear any more about it.” This doesn’t mean I can’t physically hear them talk, but that I am not going to consider it.
5. You say, “Pastor Dan, what if I’m not sure, and it seems to be a gray area in my mind?” I don’t think you can go wrong praying like Jesus did right before He went to the cross. Matthew 26:39, 42
Prayer moves the Lord to action.
1. Notice the correlation between our prayers and divine action: You
pray and God sends forth (vs. 38). Notice the action: “…send forth.” Literally, this means “to eject.”
2. Isn’t it interesting that it is God’s harvest, and He is the one that needs laborers, yet we are told to pray! This lets you know how committed God is to working in response to the prayers of His people.