May 20 – Harvesters

May 20 – Harvesters

Matthew 9:36

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

Pray to the Lord of the harvest but don’t get caught up in an error. Some people say that’s all you can do. You can’t recruit, that’s God’s business. I wonder what they think about evangelism. Regeneration is God’s business, wouldn’t you say? But how does He do it? Through you and me, through human instrumentality. How does He thrust them out? Through you and me, through human instrumentality.

For example, Barnabas didn’t just wait around for Paul to volunteer. He spotted Paul, and he kept his eye on Paul, and then at the right time, he recruited him. He didn’t say, “Now, Paul, if the Spirit moves you.” He said, “Paul, we need you down here, will you come?” So they put him to work. Then the church got together prayed, then thrust out Paul and Barnabas as the first pioneer missionary church-starting evangelists.

So you have the responsibility, not only to go but to spot others, to enlist them, to put them to work, and then to give them some training. We need a new kind of training for this new breed. Do you know how many people are in training in all the seminaries, in all the Bible colleges of the United States? About 100,000. Do you know how many of them will go to the mission field? Of the half who graduate, 3.7% will go to the mission field if past proportions continue. And that 3.7% includes all kinds of missionaries, not just evangelists. We’re going to have to recruit and train an army to get the task done.

How are they going to be sent? God’s going to send them, but He’s going to use you and me. He’s going to use the Church to provide the laborers.

Why, if the harvest is so great, are the laborers so few? I think the secret is found right here in the same passage. When Christ saw the crowds, He had “compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Do you know why we aren’t getting the job done? It is because God’s people don’t care. They are not moved as Christ was. They shut their eyes to the harvest, to the need. And when someone pries them open to show them the need, they are moved with DISINTEREST. That is the problem – we don’t have the compassion of Christ.

On the northern island of Hokkaido in Japan, four young brothers were swimming in the Pacific when one of them let out a scream. “It’s a shark, it’s a shark.” The three younger brothers clambered up on a shelf in the shallow water, and watched their 14-year old brother in his race with death. That black dorsal fin sliced closer and closer. All of a sudden, the three of them let out a yell. The fin disappeared as the shark dived to strike from beneath. When they yelled, their brother, sea-wise, knew what it meant, flailed back in the water as the shark struck. It missed him, but as it was going past, he reached out and grabbed it around the belly. The three brothers on shore were safe enough. What do you think they did? Just like one, they hit the water. One of them scooped a stone off the ocean floor, grabbed the shark and began to pound him on the nose. Another grabbed him around the tail and began to beat him in the belly. That poor shark didn’t know what hit him. He made a lunge but got confused and went in the wrong direction.

The parents down the beach heard all the noise and came running. When they got there, they found a 9-foot shark on the beach, flipping out its last, and four proud shark killers circling it. The 7-year-old, trembling, looked up at his father and said, “I was scared!”

That brother dove in, not knowing if he would ever come back. He only knew that he was going out. Why? Because his brother was in trouble, and he knew it. And he loved him. That’s the motive. It’s compassion. The Bible says that “when Jesus saw the people. . .He was moved with compassion.” Literally, it says His stomach was tied in knots. What does your stomach get tied in knots over? But when Jesus saw the lost of the world, His stomach was tied in knots, and He moved out to shepherd those lost sheep. How do you feel about it? What will you do about it? [29]

[29] Story taken from: (Seeds of Promise: World Consultation on Frontier Missions, Edinburgh ‘80 edited by Allan Starling. Copyright 1981. Used by permission of William Carey Library, P. O. Box 128-C, Pasadena, California, 91104.)

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