Fall (or autumn if you are old school) is a wonderful season in Ukrainian churches. Many evangelical churches celebrate Harvest Day by decorating their altars with those things which people harvested from their gardens. Then, the church will have an extended morning service which includes numerous sermons, poems, songs by all age groups. After the service, some of the churches provide some type of food for those in attendance.
Yesterday, Sunday, September 23, I preached in a church that had celebrated a few weeks prior, but I still wanted to share some thoughts from Matt 9:35-38 “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (ESV)
There were 4 things that jumped out to me: teaching, compassion, pray, send out. Jesus taught every place he went. A great model for us as well. We need to be teaching and proclaiming the gospel wherever we go. However, all too often, since we were not taught to do this, we don’t do this.
Secondly, Jesus had compassion. If only I could count the times the Lord has taught me just this year concerning having compassion. Jesus said there were 2 great commandments: Love God, love others. I cannot love others unless my heart is filled with love for God. I must continuously pray for the Lord to fill my heart for love of God and others.
Thirdly, pray. Another lesson the Lord is teaching me this year. I need to spend much more time than I do on prayer. I need to pray for my city more, pray for my neighbors more, pray for my family and friends more. I think you get the picture. However, in this occasion, Jesus told the disciples to pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest. I need to cry out to God concerning the city in which I live. I need to pray earnestly to God for a great harvest to come.
Lastly, send out. I need to seek for God to send out laborers unto the fields that are whitened to harvest. What I understand from this verse is that the harvest is already ready. We just need to pray for the laborers to go to the field. Interesting, isn’t it. That God has already prepared the field, it is ready for harvest, we just need laborers to go to the field.
After I preached yesterday, one young brother asked how he can go if he works 12-13 hours a day at his job, just so that he can provide for his wife and 2 children. I mentioned that his field for now is where he works. He needs to share often with those he works with and be the example of Christ in their lives.
What about me? After preaching this and hearing this question from one brother, I understand that I must be more intentional with those who live around me, in the shops where I buy things, and in the coffee shops where I meet friends. Changing habits are hard, but not impossible. Let’s be the example of Christ wherever he takes us today and every day.