New Beginnings: Help Wanted, Apply Within

Matthew 9.35-38
Matthew 10.1-8 (ff)

The Need
This is Super Bowl Sunday and as I have been out and about there are a lot of people out there suffering from Steeler-mania. The billboards sport the slogan, “Go Steelers!” People are dressed in their Steeler jerseys, from Emergency Room workers to little ole grannies in Sam’s Club.

It used to be we had three basic sports, football, baseball, and basketball. But the list has grown, especially with the addition of x-sports. These sports seek the x-treme. And each is more extreme than the last. Every experience must be more daring, more exciting, more dangerous, more extreme.

Jesus looked out over the people and he saw a people who were harassed and helpless, perhaps bothered or confused and exhausted; troubled and bewildered. They are sheep without a shepherd. The Bible and the church have used the description of those who are without Christ, as lost. The post-modern generation doesn’t like to be called lost. They don’t feel lost. And yet, they are just as Jesus describes them. They are on a quest to find meaning in life. Whether we are driven by the x-treme sport experience or by the pursuit of career, education, or financial gain, there is a spiritual need in our lives.

As Jesus sees the need, Matthew says he is “moved with pity” – a very strong word describing deep compassion. Jesus cannot in his physical body meet every need. And tells the disciples to pray for workers.

The Prayer – Help Wanted
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Jesus will not do the work alone. God wants to raise up others to work. God is at work and he is calling others to be a part of what he is doing.

The Answer
The exciting thing about this passage is that there is an immediate answer to that prayer. Looking at 10.1, those who pray the prayer, “send workers” become the answer to their own prayer. Jesus, in chapter 10, sends out the twelve disciples, giving them the authority to join in the work Jesus himself has been doing. The disciples become the answer to their own prayer.

And this prayer goes beyond the twelve disciples. As Matthew writes, he is calling the readers of his account to pray and become the answers to their prayer. The prayer was for the current readers in the first century church. The prayer for harvest hands is directed to and answered by the Church of every generation. Today, just as there continues to be a harvest, there continues to be a need for harvest hands. It is an invitation for the church today to be harvest hands. Will you be those hands?

God’s Harvest Field
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

We are called to be a part of what God is doing. We are called to join God. Too many times we decide we are going to do something for Christ and then we ask God to bless it. We decide and then we ask God to be a part of it. God is at work in our world and in our communities and in our church. Knowing that, the prayer becomes, let us be a part of what You are doing. Reveal what you are doing and allow us be a part of that.

Also, it is giving God the glory for whatever is accomplished. Knowing that it is not we ourselves who plan or will for something to happen – it is God. It is always God. If it is his fields, it is his work, and it he that accomplishes every good thing. And he must be glorified, praised and worshiped.

Everything we do as a church should be measured by the phrase: “his harvest field”. I, as your pastor, do not encourage you do things for my benefit. Your ad council does not do things for their own personal benefit.

Those of us who went to college or educational program are familiar with the phrase, “It will look good on my resume.” Sometimes people participated in certain activities to add a certain dimension to their resumes. Or the school required things in one’s program to make one more marketable upon graduation.

As a pastor, I don’t have a resume anymore. I don’t have an agenda. My only agenda is to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, to be faithful to the call he has placed upon me as your pastor and spiritual leader. And I interpret that call as providing opportunities for you to become faithful followers: to provide opportunities for you to grow in your faith and to put your faith into action. Today God is calling workers. Jesus didn’t do it alone. Your pastor won’t do it alone. This is a call to the church, will you be the church, will you be harvest hands?

Answering the Call
Faith Ministry Meeting next Tuesday, Feb 14.
Completing a Gifts Inventory.
WC/EV Ad Council.

If God is speaking to you about a ministry, speak to me. That’s a part of my job as pastor – to coordinate ministries, to have the body join you in the discernment process. The scripture today says that Jesus sent them out, giving them authority. Apostolic authority means the passing on of authority, the recognition of God’s call and the gifts and graces He has given. It means partnering together in support of various ministries through prayer, blessing, encouragement, guidance and accountability. This is part of what it means to be in community. The disciples were an extension of Jesus’ ministry. As others become involved in ministry, you become an extension of the ministry of this Church.

We live in such an independent society, where we make decisions, even decisions that impact the church community, on our own, independent of the body. And that should not be. And I don’t condemn anyone on this point; because I’ve been there, done that. And I’m still learning. I know this might be a different way of seeing the church and it will take time to grasp hold of the concept of true biblical community. But it is my desire for us to strive to be the body of Christ, to be the community that we are called to be. And today we start that journey by praying, “Lord of the harvest, send workers into your harvest fields.” Will you join me in that prayer? Will you be an answer to that prayer?

Add a Comment