“And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” — Luke 10:2
There are many jobs that farmers do during the year. Early in the spring, tractors are preparing the fields for planting. In the process they cultivate and fertilize the ground in order to max out the future yield. Finally, they plant their seed. Hopefully, the seeds sprout and the plants begin to grow. By the middle of the summer, at least for Indiana farmers, they want their corn to be at least “knee high by the 4th of July.” If the corn is at least that high, the farmer can feel a bit better about the upcoming crop. It should make for a fine harvest as long as timely rains come. If the plan comes together there ought to be bumper crop. The harvest should be plentiful.
In the gospel lesson for July 3rd, we hear Jesus talk about a bountiful harvest. It’s not corn, but people that Jesus wants to harvest. And these people are ripe. You see the world that we live in is a harsh one filled with sin and death. Evil is everywhere. Justice is perverted to the point where killing innocents, such as babies in the womb or the aged, is considered a good and appropriate option. The truth of God is thrown out of the window especially in the public square. When humanity is left to its own devices, rather than a ripe harvest, we are a sick, diseased, rotten field of weeds. Weeds are only good for burning.
In all that I have written nothing about the harvest sounds like a good one is coming. But take heart. Yes, take heart in Jesus Christ, your Savior. Even, you and I were once weeds due to our many sins. Yet, Christ has called each one of us by name in Holy Baptism, and made you into a beautiful and bountiful harvest. And He called you through the voice of your very own Pastor. Jesus in our text tells all people to pray for more workers to go into the Lord’s harvest field. Your Pastor is part of a bigger answer to that prayer. Your Pastor goes out into the world proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ to all people, of all nations so that even more might be harvested for Christ.
The words of the Pastor are Jesus’ own. And Jesus’ words are performative. So when Jesus says to Lazarus in the tomb, “Come out,” Lazarus comes out alive. And Jesus says that to you, even today. We are dead to sin and alive in Him for eternity. He tells you, “Child, Arise.” You, though dead like a diseased weed, have been called to life by Jesus Christ. And it is a life that He has won for you by His death and resurrection. Your Pastor serves this life to you by giving you Jesus through the means of the Sacraments and preaching.
The world needs more of those men willing to preach the truth that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. There are many in the field who desire to know the love and peace that God has for them through Jesus Christ. But, how can they hear if no one is sent (Romans 10:14)? Pray for your Pastor, and pray for those considering the call to work in the Lord’s harvest field.