THE HARVEST IS RIPE BUT THE LABORS ARE FEW (MATTHEW 9:36-38)
How can we be in real sympathy with Christ unless we love the work of laboring in this Gospel harvest, and long to be commissioned to go forth and put in our sickle with our own hand? Most certainly, if we were in Christ‘s spirit we should say — I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished? We should cry out, Lord, let me go! let me go — for dying millions are just now perishing in their sins. How can I pray God to send out others if I am in heart unwilling to go myself? I have heard many say — O that I were young; how I should rejoice to go myself. This seems like a state of mind that can honestly pray for God to send forth laborers.
The spirit of this prayer implies that we are willing to make any personal sacrifices in order to go. Are not men always willing to make personal sacrifices in order to gain the great object of their heart‘s desire? Did ever a merchant, seeking goodly pearls, find one of great value but he was quite willing to go and sell all that he had and buy it?
Moreover, an honest heart before God in this prayer implies that you are willing to
do all you can to prepare your selves to accomplish this work. Each young man or young woman should say God requires something of me in this work. It may be God wants you as a servant in some missionary family; if so, you are ready to go. No matter what the work may be no labor done for God or for man is degrading. In the spirit of this prayer, you will say — If I may but wash the feet of my Lord‘s servants, I shall richly enjoy it. All young person’s especially, feeling that life is before them, should say — I must devote myself, in the most effective way possible, to the promotion of my Savior‘s cause. Suppose a man bows his soul in earnest prayer before. God, saying, “O Lord, send out hosts of men into this harvest–field,” does not this imply that he girds himself up for this work with his might? Does it not imply that he is ready to do the utmost he can in any way whatever?
Again, this prayer, made honestly, implies that we do all we can to prepare others to go out. Our prayer, will be, “Lord, give us hearts to prepare others, and get as many ready as possible and as well prepared as possible for the gathering in of this great harvest.”
Of course it is also implied that we abstain from whatever would hinder us, and make no arrangements that would tie our hands. Many young Christians do this, sometimes heedlessly, often in a way which shows that they are by no means fully set to do God‘s work, first of all.
When we honestly pray God to send out laborers, and our own circumstances allow us to go, we are to expect that He will send us. What! does God need laborers of every description, and will He not send us? Depend on it, He will send out the man who prays right, and whose heart is deeply and fully with God. And we need not be suspicious lest God should lack the needful wisdom to manage His matters well. He will put all His men where they should be, into the fields they are best qualified to fill. The good reaper will be put into his post, sickle in hand; and if there are feeble ones who can only glean, He puts them there.
When youth have health and the means for obtaining an education, they must assume that God calls them to this work. They should assume that God expects them to enter the field. They will fix their eyeupon this work as their own. Thinking of the masses of God‘s true children who are lifting up this prayer, “Lord, send forth laborers to gather in the nations to Thy Son,” they will assuredly infer that the Lord will answer these prayers and send out all His faithful, fit, and true men into this field. Most assuredly, if God has given you the mind, the training, the tact, the heart, and the opportunity to get all needful preparation, you may know He will send you forth. What! is it possible that I am prepared, ready, waiting, and the hosts of the Church praying that God would send laborers forth, and yet He will not send me! Impossible!
One indispensable part of this preparation is a heart for it. Most plainly so, for God wants no men in His harvest–field whose hearts are not there. You would not want workmen in your field who have no heart for their work. Neither does God. But He expects us to have this preparation. And He will accept of no man’s excuse from service, that he has no heart to engage in it. The want of a heart for this work is not your misfortune, but your fault, your great and damning sin.
Now let us pause this lesson and allow your mind to meditate on this lesson and the two previous lessons. It is very important that you grab hold of these precepts and allow them to become a total part of your life plans. The harvest–field is no place for those whose heart is not in it. In lesson four we will help you to understand how this state of mind is an indispensable condition of salvation. Until the next lesson we leave you with our peace that God will bless you give you greater understanding to comprehend these lessons and make them become a part of all that you do. I remain your brother in Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher.