He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Have any of you ever set out to do a job or a task but the simple thought of doing it makes your head hurt?
Raking a yard full of leaves; sanding and touching up the outside paint; digging through the attic, garage, or basement to remove years worth of accumulated stuff, these among other jobs are not things we generally look forward to doing. Sometimes looking at the size of the task, the amount of work to be done, the time that will be necessary to do it, the needed tools or skills, perhaps even the cost of completing it, it can often be overwhelming. Sometimes it can lead us to delay starting the task, hoping against hope that someone, something may magically appear to make it easier, or better yet they will do it for us. Or other times we might half-heartedly start in on the task. Begrudgingly doing the work, not giving it our all or our full attention, quickly looking for a reason to stop and do something we would rather be doing.
The verse above from Luke is spoken in a similar vein. Jesus is preparing to send out his followers because he knows that the harvest across the land is plentiful, but there is no way he can do the work alone, even his assembled group is not large enough for the task before them. I often think back to Jesus as he started his ministry here on Earth. How when Jesus started he literally had a one man team. He was it. I imagine it would have been easy to look out across the landscape, to see how far he would have to travel, to realize that there were people far and wide in every direction in need of a Savior, it would have been easy to look at the enormity of the task and simply think this is too much. How can I hope to make a difference, how is that even possible?
But, we know that Jesus, even if he did have those questions swirling in his mind, he did go. He took one step, and then another. He found his first disciple, and then another and another after that. He went one day at a time, looking for one more lost sheep to bring home to his Father. This verse from Luke comes when Jesus acknowledges that he can only do so much, no matter how hard he tries he is still only one individual person. And as he says there is a plentiful harvest to be reaped. So he does what any good teacher or leader will do, he calls forth those he has taught and instructed and sends them out to continue the work he has started.
I believe all these years later that Jesus is still standing there, looking out at the landscape, realizing that in all directions there is still a plentiful harvest to be had. So Jesus still turns to his followers, those who have experienced his teaching, his love, his grace for themselves and he says, “Help me. Our Father’s children are still lost in the darkness, help me find them.”
We can make any number of excuses, the job is too big, there are not enough laborers to do it, I don’t have the skills necessary, we can make the excuses, or we can do as Jesus did and take the first step. Find the first person to start a relationship with. To talk with and share with and when the time is right to introduce them to our Lord and Savior. The one man who started this all, the one man who still tirelessly works to bring each and every lost sheep home.