In this series of blog posts, we consider missions and evangelism using the metaphor that Jesus often used—the harvest. For a farmer and for followers of Jesus, the harvest is not a problem, it is an opportunity. We begin to realize the harvest when we see people like Jesus saw them, as “sheep without a shepherd.” Leaders who care are desperately needed today. But, we do not have an unlimited amount of time to get the job done. We have a window of opportunity that will not last forever.
In regard to the harvest, there are three broad categories of involvement. One way that we can be involved is through prayer. In an earlier post, we described the importance of praying for laborers for the harvest. There are many other needs for which we can pray.
Another way to bring in the harvest is to be directly involved yourself. You can go—as a missionary, or as a neighbor. As we become laborers in the harvest ourselves, we are the answer to someone’s prayers.
One more way to be involved in the harvest is through giving financially. Supporting missions and the outreach ministries of your local church through giving remains a great need for the harvest.
At this point, frustration easily sets in. Status quo is not an option, we know that. But we also know that we have limited resources, especially finances. I have been a pastor and I am currently a missionary. I know that pastors want to resource missionaries and I know that missionaries have an increasing need for more resources, especially finances. Missions is not going to get less expensive, or less important. Are we stymied? Absolutely not. The Kingdom is never stymied.
Jesus and his disciples faced a similar situation. The crowds that followed Jesus needed food, which was simply unavailable in the remote location in which they found themselves. Read the story (Matthew 14:13-21) to find the surprising, but simple solution. When the disciples were ready to give up, Jesus pressed them to look deeper. Taking inventory one more time they found one boy with five small loaves of bread and two fish. Not enough to feed five thousand people.
But Jesus blessed it and proceeded to feed every single person, with a pile of leftovers, besides. One boy’s lunch became enough to feed five thousand people, when he gave it to the Lord. A miracle occurred that today. If the disciples and the boy had waited for enough to come in, they would have all starved to death. Miracles happen when we do something—of any size—that God can bless. A miracle can occur today. But we must do something more than we are doing today to bring in the harvest.
For the sake of the harvest, consider doing something more than you are doing now. Don’t hesitate. Perhaps you can give $10.00 per month to missions, please don’t wait until you can give $100.00. Let God bless the $10.00 gift and allow him to increase your ability to give more. If you find it difficult to pray for long periods of time, don’t wait—start by praying for a minute or two. God answers short prayers as easily as long ones. Before long, you may find yourself devoting longer periods of time to prayer. You understand—do something for God to bless and to multiply.
As children, we all played hide-and-seek. The “seeker” always shouted, “Ready or not, here I come!” There is no hiding from the harvest. Ready or not, here it comes—the opportunity of all time.
David L. DeGarmo (D. Min.) serves Global University as Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Theology. Along with his wife Ruth, he is also a U.S. Missionary. He has extensive experience as an educator, missionary, and pastor.
David writes an additional blog on a variety of topics. Check it out...