Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 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 labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’

Matthew 9:35-38

By Lorrie Toni

In our world today, the harvest is plentiful.  What, you ask?  We have high unemployment; starving children; thousands dying from a contagious virus, and most of us isolated from friends, families, acquaintances, and neighbors!  How can that be a plentiful harvest?  But Jesus referred to the crowds he spoke to as people who were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  And then Jesus told his disciples, “the harvest is plentiful.”

Perhaps this relentless horror of the pandemic is a plentiful harvest – God’s harvest?!  How can we, disciples of Jesus, help?  We cannot go and mingle among the crowds while following the isolation guidelines?  Jesus says, “therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  So, the first thing we can do, is pray to God for guidance and direction.

We can donate to food banks.  We can continue to lift prayers for all who are suffering and for a world of peace.  We can honor and respect doctors, nurses, therapists, pastors, and those many “essential” workers. And after we ask “God, how more can I help?”  We can listen for that still, small voice that might just plant a brand-new idea into our souls.  Perhaps, we can get involved by writing; by zooming; by telephoning.  And we may hear surprising suggestions from our God – offering online classes; organizing business leader groups that reach out to hire from “the plentiful harvest”; sharing concerns and opinions with others; listening to the concerns and opinions of others; and who knows what else – believing!  Believing that the Lord of the harvest will hear our requests and will send out laborers into his harvest!  Maybe the most important thing we need to do in this plentiful harvest is ask the Lord of the harvest for laborers into his harvest – just like Jesus tells us to do.

Dear gracious creator God,

We are asking you, the Lord of the harvest, to send out laborers into your harvest.  Help us to hear your reply to this request so that we might best serve as laborers or to serve the laborers you send.  In Jesus name, we pray.