40 Days of Prayer: Day 23
We have some good friends who live in the middle of a pecan orchard. Rows of pecan trees expand out from both sides of their home creating a tunnel of shade perfect for children to play in or an improtu picnic. In their backyard is tens of acres of cotton. It is beautiful to see the snow-capped plants swaying gently in the breeze as the sun descends seemingly into pillowy comfort. It is truly picturesque and peaceful.
There is something majestic about the farming life. It has its own rythm and qualities. At random times throughout the weeks you can hear the propellors buzzing of a small cropduster as it drops low to release a blanket of protection upon the vulnerable crop. A mobilizeable oversized irragation system sits poised to shower life-sustaining artificial rain. Equipment—large, expensive equipment—waits patiently for the right day to turn the plant’s treasures into rows of large fluffy white rectangles.
It’s easy to get caught up the beauty and uniqueness of such a place and completely miss the amount of time, money and energy that goes into it. Why do the owners work so hard? It is not so they will have a beautiful piece of property. That’s a wonderful byproduct that they enjoy, but they don’t get up early and ride a tractor all day so people can have “Southern snow” in their Christmas card pictures. They labor tirelessly for the crop that comes from the cotton fields and the pecan trees. As much as they may enjoy the process, it’s the harvest that brings the reward.
What would happen if farmers decided not to harvest the crop? After months of effort, what if more important things came up during gathering time? We instinctively know that not all the crops will be good so what if they said it’s too much work to pick out the good crops so they didn’t pick any? What if the fields were white but the timing felt wrong? Does this feel like a silly exercise in overly exaggerated “what if’s”? Of course, the farmer is gonna gather the crop. Of course, he or she will ignore the distractions of life and put first things first. Feelings will not detract from the responsibility of the farmer. His or her livelihood, reputation and very identity, to an extent, rests in the crop. Gathering is one of the main purposes of being a farmer.
Jesus used this same metaphor to explain the relationship between the Church and people who are far from God.
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. —Matthew 9:35-38
The silly exercise of overly exaggerated “what if’s,” unfortunately, is a daily reality for many Christians. We allow the crops to die on the plant because we are distracted by the cares of this life. We instinctively know that everyone will not listen to us when we talk about Jesus. It’s too hard to know who will; so, we don’t talk to anyone. Too often it just doesn’t feel like the right time to be bold with our faith.
I like the way Jesus worded it: “Ask the Lord of the harvest.” Notice he didn’t say, “Ask the Master of the workers.” The harvest is the people who haven’t believed in Him yet. Jesus was making the point that they belong to Him just like the believers do, but He wants believers to go and lead unbelievers to Him. Are you ready to gather the harvest? I hope so. And I challenge you to pray for other believers to be bold in their faith to reach the world—His harvest field—with God’s love.
Thank you for reading. Now, please go to our Prayer Wall and pray for the needs there. You may also add your own pray needs there.