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Devotions > Labor Problem

3 Sep 2013

Labor Day was recognized nationally in America in 1894.   It had its origin as a workers holiday.  Labor Day is universally celebrated by all and like several other holidays the cause behind its origin is regularly lightly emphasized in our day.    Surly we need such a similar holiday specifically for serious believers, one that would strongly encourage laborers to enter into His harvest.

Luke 10:2 (AMP)
2 And He said to them, The harvest indeed is abundant [there is much ripe grain], but the farmhands are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Things have not changed much since Jesus’ time; the Lord of the Harvest still urgently needs laborers to work in His harvest.   The Church is made up mostly of believers today who seem to believe that the harvest is not particularly important.    Few are asking what can I do to help bring in the harvest.   More seem to be asking “what is my church doing to help provide for my desires and needs.”

We seem to have inherently in our hearts the abundant desire to rest from labor.   In our faith communities we have somehow encouraged self -centeredness that seeks to see our every yearning satisfied.    Self serving softness seems to have soaked and saturated the hearts of those sitting in the pews of America. 

In the Church we have a labor problem.   The manifestation of our labor problem is similar to a football game we might watch on Sunday afternoon.   We see twenty-two individuals sweating and striving with every ounce of strength they can spend, leaving every drop of desire, and dedication on the field.   Meanwhile there are several thousand spectators in the stands who believe they are really serving the cause by simply showing up and shouting (or singing) in support of their side.

Jesus commanded us to make disciples, all of us.    How much of the Church has stopped seriously trying to make disciples?   Perhaps our modern perspective in making disciples is only for the fabulous few who are on the field.   The rest of us seem to be saying, “My thing is to sit in the stands and to be stalwartly stimulated by simply seeing the performance of others.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB95)
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

A more accurate translation of the beginning of verse 19 would be "As you go, make disciples..." The Greek word here for go is passive. On the other hand, the only active verb is "make disciples." Jesus isn't telling us to all be missionaries and go. He's telling us to make disciples as we go about our daily lives. For some, that daily life is to be a missionary. For others it's to be a mom, or a manager, or a mechanic. The important thing is not that we "go." Jesus expects us to go about our daily lives. The important thing is that we make disciples.– from www.bible.com

What is needed to get out of the stands and into the game?    First perhaps we need the heart of a laborer.   To seek to serve or to be served  ….. which attitude prevails in your heart?   A true laborer does not seek to be served, but takes the initiative to serve.    Laborers are servants.   In the Church our labor problem consists of too many non-servants, too many who strongly desire to be served.

A basic initial step in serving is to pray to the Lord of the Harvest the He might send out laborers into His harvest.   Jesus Himself asked us to pray in this way.   We are assured of an affirmative answer if we pray in faith for this request specifically commanded by Jesus. 

 Think with me for a moment ….. what would happen to our labor problem (and His Church) if every believer would daily pray in faith that the Lord of the Harvest would send laborers into His harvest?   Would this put an end to our labor problem?  Could this be why Jesus asked us to so pray?

Praying for laborers is an excellent place to start serving.  And further, consistently praying in this way is likely to lead us to lean in the direction of unmitigated obedience.   As we genuinely and consistently pray for the Lord to send laborers, it is likely that we will begin to innately sense Jesus’ call to make disciples.  Think about your own local body.   Can you see a labor problem?   Most of our pastors have so many duties that could be assigned to others that they have great difficulty following the example of the early apostles.

Acts 6:3-4 (NASB95)
3 "Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.
4 "But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
 (emphasis added)

Let’s look carefully at the Word of God.   Who should be about the Father’s work, who should be laboring in the Father’s harvest?

Ephesians 4:11-12 (NLT)
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

If we are to solve the labor problem in our churches we must have a multitude of men and women who are committed to walking daily filled and controlled by God’s Spirit.   When we work, nothing happens from heavens view.  When the Holy Spirit works through us, He works the supernatural work of gathering the Lord’s harvest through us.

On this day of labor will you commit to pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers into His harvest?    Will you ask God to work through you by His Spirit to empower you to bring in the Lord’s harvest?  Will you pray that our churches will awake and join arms to gather in the sheaves?

Ephesians 5:14-18 (NASB95)
14 For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you."
15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,
16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,
(emphasis added)                               

Carefully consider this commitment:  Each time you brush your teeth ask God to send more laborers into His harvest.  And each time you put your tooth brush away tell God that you are a willing to be a laborer in His harvest.

Father, teach us to pray and act in holy harmony with your heart.

Jeff Williams