Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Harvest Is Plentiful

Perspiring in the late afternoon sunshine, I bend over tomato plants heavy-laden with fruit. Some split open and rotting, some round and rosy to perfection, some not yet ripe. I clip rapid-growing okra from the stalk, wincing as its miniscule prickles pierce the skin of my fingers. As I browse slowly among the plants, searching for hidden vegetables, I remember a verse in the gospel of Luke.

Jesus said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." I ponder the ground, littered with decomposing fruit and vegetables. The harvest is plentiful...but the workers are few. Are the lost like these tomatoes? Like the okra? All at different stages. Some seeds of the gospel not quite to fruition, some plump and ready for the picking, some long past their prime, past all hope of being recovered. Some growing rapidly, others sullen and prickly, some hiding behind broad leaves, reluctant to leave their stiff stalks.

We, as labourers of Christ, must use our spiritual senses to discern their readiness so that at the appointed time, with the slightest touch of a finger, they will drop from the vine and be gathered into the basket.

Gathering in the harvest is hard work. Your body grows damp from sweat, your fingers are sore from prickles, your back aches from bending. But there is hope. In the latter half of the verse Jesus says, "Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" (Luke 10:2). We are all called to labor in the fields of the Lord. And when we all work diligently, none are overlooked, left to rot, or ripped off before their time.