Summary: We are an answer to Jesus requested prayer to send Labourers into the harvest. This sermon gives seven ways to do that.

Growing up on a farm taught me many fine lessons, but one of the great lessons of my life came every late summer when it was time to harvest. There was no time to waste, no time to delay, everything and everyone was moving at top speed to bring in the crops that we worked so hard to produce. It was a race against time to bring them in… to not waste a single head of grain… everything was focused on this one thing. In our gospel text today, Jesus looks over the crops, “… all the cities and villages… the crowds… harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, The Harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few, therefore ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” In other words, “It’s TIME! BRING THEM IN!” “There is NO TIME to waste!” “There is NO OTHER FOCUS more important than this!” “Pray to the LORD OF THE HARVEST and LET’S GO!” Do you sense the urgency in this text… Jesus knows what people need… people need the LORD! Amen.

So, how do we do it? How do we gather the harvest? Jesus is saying, “It’s TIME! BRING THEM IN!” “There is NO TIME to waste!” “There is NO OTHER FOCUS more important than this!”

You and I are an answer to this prayer that Jesus told his disciples to pray for… we are the LABOURERS of the LORD OF THE HARVEST… as an answer to prayer we are called to go into the fields; into the harvest… as the great commission states at the very end of the Gospel, “Go and make disciples of all nations… baptizing them in the name… in the name… in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit… teaching them to obey… to obey… to obey… everything I have commanded you… everything I have commanded…and LO… I WILL BE WITH YOU ALWAYS… ALWAYS… ALL THE TIME… TO THE VERY END… TO THE VERY END… TO THE VERY END OF THE AGE…

What steps are we to take? What is the process? What are the orders? What’s first… as I read the text, I see 7 things right away… what I think comes first is this:

1. Take Time with Jesus… for instruction; for strategy; for empowerment… each and every day we are beckoned by the Spirit to meet with Our Savior and to hear a word from him and to gather our strength in Him; gather our hope in Him; gather our focus and energy and life from Him; and to take the courage He will give us in those moments and then Go out in the power of His Spirit… to make a difference; maybe THE difference in the life of someone we may know or not know…

2. Take Time with People… the lost sheep; our own children; our own families our own inactive members and fringe fellowshippers… then all others that we have any acquaintance with at all… we are to use every opportunity we have to not only tell the good news, but be the good news… we want to live in such a way that when we are walking up the driveway… and are noticed coming to the door… those inside that know who we are don’t run and hide acting like they are not home…

3. The text says… Heal the sick… for us this can mean to bring a message of SALVation to them… that is… healing words… let your words be as a gentle medicine to the soul… as a salve to a wound… hear their cares and worries and woes… cry with them… weep with them… lift them up with words of encouragement and gestures of hope… bring them kind and uplifting words of life and renewal… pray with them and for them.

4. Next The text says… Raise the dead… one way we can do this is to help them cross over from being a non-believer to believing… help them see that God is alive and real and cares and that they can have a personal relationship with God… just like you do… Baptize them in the name… we are not talking here about water… we are talking about saturating them; soaking them with understanding and knowledge; acquaintance with God the Father; with Jesus Christ; and with the Holy Spirit… Tell them about God and his wonderful message of salvation…

5. Then it says… cleanse them; cleanse those who have leprosy… deal with their disease… their sin sickness… teach them to obey everything that I have commanded you, the great commission says… Jesus said… cleanse them… remove their sin sickness by leading them to repentance and resolve; by bring them to the altar for communion and forgiveness… by sticking with them through the steps of recovery… by be available… BE THERE!… trusting and knowing that when Jesus says, “Let’s Go Fishing”… that he wants you and I to catch them and he will clean them… but we are to be there in the process… we are to deal with their diseases… hear their confessions… and bring them to the great physician; Jesus; to this place; to this altar… to the bread and wine of forgiveness and renewal and new life… AND KNOWING WITH FULL FAITH THAT HE WILL BE WITH US ALWAYS… ALWAYS… AND… ALWAYS.

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