37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”
What do Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam,” da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” and Picasso’s “Guernica” have in common? Not only are they magnificent works of art, but they are works of art that were commissioned for a specific purpose.
In Matthew 9:37-38, after looking out at the crowds with compassion, Jesus addresses His disciples saying, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” Jesus then identifies and designates His disciples as apostles, meaning “messengers” in the Greek, and he commissions them to go “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, drive out demons” and to “proclaim, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near’” (Matthew 10:7-8).
Just as an artist is commissioned to create a beautiful piece of art for a particular event or purpose, the disciples were commissioned by Jesus for the purpose of doing His ministry and proclaiming His message. Jesus sanctions His disciples not only to go, but also to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send more workers. The harvest metaphor is simple. The crops, or in this case those who would follow Jesus, are ready for gathering, and Jesus commissions His disciples to reap the harvest and to pray for more workers.
Although 2,000 years have passed, the gathering of the harvest continues today, as the Holy Spirit empowers workers to go and to proclaim the message of Christ locally and globally. For you, maybe this means having gospel conversations with someone in your school, workplace, family or community. Or maybe this means going on a mission journey locally, nationally or internationally. Wherever God might be leading you, remember that the disciples have already prayed for you, a worker of the harvest, to join them in the work of doing Jesus’ ministry and proclaiming His message.
In fact, as you go, remember too that you will be joining the disciples in the Great Commission as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” What an honor it is to be commissioned for the harvest, and what a wonderful promise it is that Jesus is always with us in this work.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Has the Lord been stirring your heart to join Him in the work of the harvest?
- Do the prayers of the disciples and Jesus’ promise to always be with you encourage you to take seriously His commission for your life?
- If you were to take one small step toward answering the Great Commission, where could you start?
- Are you open to God’s stirring in your heart, and are you willing to go?