“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” (NKJV).
When I read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry, I’m always struck by the pace of His life. I’ve never gotten the sense that Jesus was in a hurry. He willingly gave His time to the people whom He came to seek and save. His efforts and energy were invested in the lives of His disciples whom He taught and to whom He demonstrated how they were to minister in His name.
Though Jesus was never hurried, there was always a strong sense of urgency in His life. He had work to accomplish, and He knew that people’s lives depended on it. Jesus instilled in His disciples the understanding that the time for action is now.
There are many passages in the Bible that indicate the urgency of salvation and the coming of the Day of the Lord (Matt. 3:2, 4:17; Mark 1:15; John 4:35-37; 2 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 22:20). Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that the harvest was ready. He wanted them to realize the need to be actively laboring for the harvest, and we have the same mandate today.
As Southern Baptists, we have always been “people of the Book” and people of action. There has never been a time in the course of history where the Gospel was more urgently needed for a lost world than today. We have also been committed to the Biblical model of cooperation for the sake of carrying the Gospel everywhere to everyone. The Cooperative Program is a proven, God-blessed ministry tool as well as a lifeline for the most important enterprise in the world.
Today, many people are truly “weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” We may become discouraged or overwhelmed by the magnitude of the calling Christ has placed on our lives. We know that the laborers are few compared to the vast need in our world. But we must model the life of Christ. Let the pace of our lives be both intentionally focused on the people around us as well as living with a sense of urgency for the importance of our task.
Considering Jesus’ teaching, let us do four things:
- Pray God will send out more laborers into the harvest, and pray for those who have already answered the call and are working in the harvest.
- Provide support for the laborers who depend on the Lord and His Church to supply their needs by generously giving through the Cooperative Program.
- Proclaim the hope that can be found in Christ as you walk daily with Him.
- Persist in living with a sense of Gospel urgency because the need is great, the harvest is plentiful and our time is short.
Blessings in Christ,
State Missionary Jay Stewart serves as director of Cooperative Program and Church Financial Resources. He may be contacted at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 2283, or (334) 613-2283, email@example.com.