35 Then Jesus went throughout all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”(Matthew 9:35-38 NET)
My college lecturer, Chris Green, refers to Matthew 9:38 as “The Other Lord’s Prayer.” Jesus has been on a gospel preaching and healing tour (Matthew 9:35) and in that context he is faced with the desperate need. Large crowds of “bewildered and helpless” people need a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).
His response in Matthew 9:37-38 is then interesting.
First, there is a great harvest that needs to be gathered in. He shifts the metaphor from sheep farming to arable farming. What these people need is to be harvested! What does that mean? Well the point is that there is a ready audience for the gospel. A crowd of people who need to hear the good news about Jesus so they can put there trust in him.
Second, Jesus identifies the problem with bringing in the harvest: “the workers are few.”
Third, he points to the key to resolving that problem: “ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers.”
It’s a prayer we’ve been praying a lot here recently in Rochdale Evangelical Church. Why?
We recognize that this borough is just chock full of people who are “like sheep without a shepherd.” There are just so many people who we want to introduce to Jesus – the good shepherd. In that sense, the harvest is self-evidently plentiful.
The problem is the workers are few – just as in Matthew. Our church is small and whilst we’re not the only ones, we see how very few faithful gospel-preaching Bible-believing Christians are here compared to the great sea of people who don’t know Jesus.
So we’re asking the Lord of the harvest to send workers. Perhaps the Lord could answer that prayer with you as you read this. Do you love Jesus and want to help a church reach people? Could you do that in Rochdale? Maybe you could be a worker for this harvest field.
There are all sorts of ways that could be you.
- Perhaps you’re working out what to do next in your life, so you could work in the area (Greater Manchester is full of job opportunities) and serve as a faithful and hopefully long-term member of our church – we need people with all kinds of gifts and skills, as you might imagine in a small church.
- It might be that you’re looking to do particular kinds of mission or outreach, e.g. with Muslim, asylum seeker or deprived communities, in which case Rochdale is an excellent place to consider.
- It might be that you want short-term, medium-term or long-term ministry opportunities, well all of those are certainly here and we think there are options for making that happen with us.
Those are just a few ways it could be you. If you might be interested in partnering with us, we’d love to hear from you, as we need workers for the harvest field.
So why not contact us?