One day Jesus told His disciples: “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest?’ Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35). Jesus was not referring to a harvest of grain, but to the spiritual harvest of mankind into the Kingdom of God. He may have been especially thinking of this Church age, which began on the Day of Pentecost and continues today. Thousands and thousands of chosen firstfruits are indeed “white for harvest” into God’s family. Jesus may also have been thinking of the rest of mankind, which will be made “white for harvest” when He returns to reign on the earth.
On another occasion Jesus told His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).
At another time Jesus appointed an additional 70 helpers and sent them out to prepare the way for places He was about to go. “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:1-2).
Jesus said the fields are “already white for harvest,” and He said the harvest is “plentiful.” But He said the laborers are few. There is a need for more workers in the harvest. He said we should pray for more laborers to be sent out. The Greek word for “pray” is deomai and it means to “plead” or “beseech.”
How about us? Do we recognize the great spiritual harvest going on today, which will get much larger when Jesus returns? Do we remember to beseech the Lord of the harvest (our Father) to send more workers for the harvest? Jesus said we should!
A Small Church, a Big Mission
In Luke 12:32 Jesus called His Church a “little flock.” But He gave this “little flock” a big mission:
Matthew 28:19-20 – Go and make disciples of all nations.
Mark 16:15 – Go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone.
Luke 24:47 – Preach repentance and remission of sins to all nations.
John 21:15-17 – Feed God’s sheep.
Acts 1:8 – Take the gospel as a witness to the “uttermost part of the earth” (King James Version).
We are striving to fulfill the mission Jesus gave to His Church, as reflected in our Mission Statement: “The mission of the United Church of God is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God in all the world, make disciples in all nations and care for those disciples.”
This bold mission is also reflected in our Church seal—“Preaching the Gospel/Preparing a People.”
At the end of this age, God is empowering His Church to fulfill the mission Jesus gave. He has set before us powerful doors to proclaim the gospel (Revelation 3:8), so that we literally can go to the “uttermost part of the earth”—through radio, television, the Internet, print and rapid communication and transportation. God is also granting repentance and adding members to the Church (Romans 2:4; Acts 2:47). It is encouraging to hear about newly baptized members in various nations.
All of those whom God is calling today become workers in the harvest field. Every member of the body of believers is important. It is God who places each member in the body as it pleases Him, and every member has a very important function in the Church (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
Each member has a role to play in fulfilling the mission Jesus gave the Church. We can help with our faithful and fervent prayers, our tithes and offerings, our encouraging words, our personal example, etc. There are ways we can help at our Church services. Many of our congregations are small, and it’s a challenge to provide songleaders, speakers, those to give opening and closing prayers, set up the hall, operate the PA system, etc. More laborers are needed.
What can we all do? As Jesus said, we should “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38).
The Fields are “White for Harvest”
There are almost eight billion people on the earth today, and they all need the hope of the gospel message. We should beseech the Lord of the harvest to “open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3)—“to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).
The whole world desperately needs the message we proclaim. Like Jesus, we should be moved with compassion for the multitudes who are “weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
The fields are indeed “already white for harvest,” and the harvest truly is “plentiful.” A small Church is striving to fulfill its big mission, but we could use more workers in the harvest—to help us get this message of hope to a weary world and to care for those who believe.
Let’s all remember Jesus’ admonition to “pray to the one in charge of the harvesting and ask him to recruit more workers for his harvest fields” (Matthew 9:38, Living Bible).