Summary: This message focusing on challenging the congergation to participate in reaching out for a summer harvest.
Let’s Prepare for a Summer Harvest
What are your plans for this summer? Are you planning on spending extra time with your family and relatives? Are you planning a vacation to have fun in the sun? This summer I want us to think about preparing for a summer harvest.
I have mentioned before that I spent three summers working as a custom combine driver harvesting wheat.. The summer of my freshman year of college I made contact with a custom cutter from Inman, KS. He hired two college age guys to drive the trucks and combines. To get the job all I had to do was pass the test for a chauffeurs’ license. I had not driven a large truck or a combine.
When we loaded up the combines on the trucks and I got behind the wheel of the truck I had trouble working the two speed axle. I prayed hard and learned as I drove by stripping several gears in the process.
We started cutting wheat in Texas, then Oklahoma, Kansas, Wyoming and Montana. We occasionally cut barley and oats but our main job was harvesting wheat.
Farmers have one purpose in planting wheat – planning for a harvest. It takes hard work to have a bountiful harvest. You cultivate the ground, plant the seed, pray for rain, and then when the harvest is ripe you cut and harvest the wheat and it is sent to market to be used in our economy.
Jesus and the Apostle Paul give us instruction concerning the harvest. Scripture equates preparing for harvest with prayer.
Matthew 9:37-38 NLT – “He/Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is so great but the workers are so few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest: ask him to send out more workers for his fields.” I like the way Eugene Peterson in “The Message” translates Matthew 9:36-38 “When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. ‘What a huge harvest!’ he said to his disciples. How few workers.’ On your knees and pray for harvest hands!”
It was during my second summer driving a combine harvesting wheat that I sensed God’s call on my life for full time Christian service. The theme of Matthew 9:38 kept ringing in my ears: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few, won’t you become a laborer in My harvest fields.” My third year in College I changed my major to Philosophy and Religion and my manor to Greek.
Jesus is talking about a spiritual harvest with men, women, young people and boys and girls accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. Our harvest fields are located where we live, in our neighborhoods, where we work, our family and our friends.
I. Jesus Linked a Fruitful Harvest with Prayer
Jesus said, look out and see the people in your community. They are confused and aimless, like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus tells us to drop to our knees and pray. Thousands of people in the Bay area have substituted doing God will with living according to their own will. There is only one hope for people who are confused and lacking purpose in life. That is to know Jesus who alone can meet the deepest needs of a person’s life.
There is power in prayer. Someone has said, “When we work we work, when we pray, God works.” We are committed to pray because we want God to work through our lives and the ministries of the Willow Vale Church.
The scriptures are clear. God is not satisfied with puny harvests or no harvests. God wants His church to grow.
“The Lord … is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but wants everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 Jesus came to earth on a mission of seeking to save the lost. There is not one person on earth that God does not love. He is not willing that anyone spends an eternity apart from God. If a person misses spending eternity with Jesus it will be because the person chooses to miss heaven by rejecting God’s love.
Our task as a church is to continue the work started by Jesus. Jesus tells us to “GO.” We are to reach out in love to the community around us. “Go out into the country…and urge anyone you find to come in, so that My house will be full.” Luke 14:23 TLB
Do you believe God wants the Willow Vale Church to grow? Yes He does. He is not willing that anyone perish. He wants His house to be full. It is God’s will for the church to grow. Colossians 2:19, “Under Christ’s control, the whole body is nourished…and grows as God wants it to grow.”