January 1, 2015

Matthew 9:37-38 “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

I don’t remember how many years ago it was that the Lord gave me this passage as the Verse for the Year for this church [editor’s note: it was 2006], but He’s done it again for 2015. The principle involved is one that screams at me, yet it seems to be less than obvious to many people. That is, if we are to pray for harvest workers, then we ourselves must be available as harvest workers. Praying for something without being willing to be part of the answer is the height of selfishness. “God helps those who help themselves” is a proverb many Americans think is in the Bible, yet it is not. However, it does touch on this issue, because it speaks against passivity. Human effort without God is futile, just as Psalm 127:1 says so clearly. “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” However, asking God to do something, whether it’s building a house, guarding a city, or anything else, and not being willing to be involved in the process is like a healthy adult demanding to be waited on like a baby. I have heard Christians put other Christians down for getting involved in politics, for example, but if you pray for God to raise up righteous, God-fearing politicians, then you had better be willing to be one! That brings us back to the specific subject of this passage, and that is bringing people into God’s family, His kingdom. I think every Christian wants the people they love to be with them in heaven, but many are unwilling to risk disruption, or even inconvenience, here on earth in order to make that happen.

This is something that has been a burden on my heart for many years, yet I have not been very effective in motivating people to reach out to draw others in. Frankly, the “soul winning” programs I studied in seminary and afterward were largely designed for cultures with a Christian background, and are ineffective in Japan. However, Japanese have as much fear of death as any other culture, I think, despite the high suicide rate, and they are certainly just as much in need of salvation by grace through faith. I need to ask the Lord to show me how to go about it, and more importantly, how to train the believers here to go about it, so that they would be emboldened to step over the line and draw people into God’s family. I don’t feel I am gifted/called as an evangelist, but I am gifted and called as a teacher, so I need to apply what the Lord has placed in me, to do His will in His way for His glory.

Father, I didn’t expect so much in the “application” area this morning! Thank You for opening my eyes to see that my own inertia is part of the problem. Help me be done with excuses and make myself fully available to You, so that Your purposes may be accomplished in and through me, and in and through this church, for a mighty harvest in Your kingdom, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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