Help Wanted – Part 3 – Matt. 9:35-38

In the past two “Help Wanted” messages, we have seen a couple of things. First, we must have compassion for the lost. Jesus was moved with compassion for the people around Him. We should do that as well. Second, we must notice the needs. I think that it is instructive that Jesus noticed the needs as He was ministering to people. When we are involved in people’s lives, our awareness of the needs around us will grow.

We finally come to the part of the passage that we have been expecting—verse 38. There Jesus completes His thought by saying, “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” From this, we see our third point.

3. Pray that God would send more laborers (38).

a. What should we do?

Many of us are wired to do what needs to be done. As we see the needs around us, our compassion grows, and we want to do something about the problems. A pastor recently visited our church and noted that he would be retiring soon. He, like many churches, is looking for someone to continue the ministry. As we see these needs, we have ideas and maybe people in mind to help. But our first actions should be to pray. This is what Jesus tells the disciples to do.

Prayer is one of those things that takes the weight of each situation off of our own shoulders (Phil. 4:6-7). It is stopping and including God in the work that we are trying to do. If you think about that, it makes a lot of sense to stop work on occasion to pray to God. He is the One with the power to meet the need. The word pray usually means “to ask.” Here it can also mean to beg or plead (Mounce). That makes this sentence come a bit more alive. We are not just reading through a list of prayer requests. We are pleading for compassion and for the needs to be met.

b. Who is the Lord of the harvest?

In Bible times, there was one person in charge of the harvest. You might think of Boaz in the Book of Ruth. He was the owner of the fields and the one in charge of those who worked for him and those who gleaned after the workers went through. I would imagine that it would be like saying the word manager to us today. It referred to the person in charge of the harvest.

Who is in charge of the spiritual harvest? Is it the pastor of the church? Is it the missionary on the mission field? No, the Lord of the harvest is God the Father. He is the One who is behind the scenes making things happen. He is at work in people’s hearts and that includes both Christians and those whose eyes He will eventually open. God has everything worked out and His plan is being fulfilled despite the many needs we see around us.

c. What should we ask Him to do?

Once again, we may be surprised at what Jesus tells the disciples. Shouldn’t they start reaping the harvest? Shouldn’t they start talking with people? Shouldn’t they do something? I suppose that it is true that the disciples should have gotten up and started working. But the immediate need was greater than they could handle. They needed more help to minister to so many people.

The Lord of the Harvest is God the Father. He is fully aware of what the needs are and where there are qualified workers available to help. So we are told to ask that God would send out laborers into His harvest. The implied thought is that God will hear and answer our prayers.

I have been wondering a couple of things. First, I wonder how missionary recruiters are doing. We support missionaries who go to churches and Christian colleges hoping to find young people whom the Lord is preparing for the mission field. Are they finding many who are willing to go? Second, I wonder who the Lord will send to help us in Willard. In my mind, I am hoping for a young couple to join us or a young family. But I don’t know what the Lord will do.

Conclusion

While we faithfully seek to do the work in front of us, we see the needs and feel compassion for people who need Jesus. But as we notice these things, our first action should be to pray that God would send out laborers into His harvest. We do not know what He is doing behind the scenes. (I would like to know some day.) But we are confident that He is aware of the needs, that He cares about people, and that He will hear us when we pray.

With all of that in mind, let us take the time to pray for God to send more Christians into the many needy areas of our country including where we currently are ministering. And when God sends us the help we need, let us thank God for them, accept them into our church family, and work faithfully together with them in God’s harvest field.

Bibliography

“δέομαι” as viewed at https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/deomai on 3/29/2023.

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