The Harvest Is Ripe
Posted on December 26, 2018 by America's Keswick in Freedom Fighters
Matt. 9: 35-38 “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. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
Throughout my years of ministry this verse has been used in missionary conferences to encourage people to foreign missions. Foreign missions are vital. A church or a person without a world view for spreading the gospel is missing the main message of the Bible. But this particular passage looks beyond, or in addition to, foreign missions. Look at the context: Jesus went to towns and villages. He was talking about people in the immediate vicinity.
Looking back on my Christian roots, missions was always across an ocean. Only “liberal” churches were interested in local involvement such as pregnancy centers, rescue missions, food banks, etc. We, the spiritual, we concerned about how many foreign countries we could reach.
Two things are true: first, there is more than enough opportunity to spread the gospel to our neighbors, friends and local community, and second, the world has come to us! If you want to reach Africans, Asians, Chinese, Indians, etc., just open your eyes to your local environment. You do not have to cross an ocean.
People may look fine on the outside, but on the inside they are distraught and seeking help. They are our mission field as well as the “heathen” in foreign lands.
We have acquaintances who always ask the server when food is delivered in a restaurant, “We are going to pray for our meal. Is there anything we could pray about for you?” The responses have been amazing.
Many are hurting emotionally and don’t know where to turn. We can identify them and pray with them. But we need to “go”, seek them out.
We can be financially helpful to people with real needs by witnessing while giving, or physically helpful in terms of repairs, driving people to doctors who cannot drive, etc. and witnessing in the process.
We can support home missions such as the pregnancy center, the rescue mission, the Salvation Army, etc. when we know they are serving in the name of Jesus.
If you live in a city or town with a university, you can befriend a foreign student.
If you are skilled with your hands, you can volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, a Christian organization whose mission statement is, “Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.”
These are just a few ways we can show that we care for people in the Name of Jesus.
“Rescue the Perishing” is a great old hymn. We used to sing it at all of our missionary conferences promoting spreading the gospel to the untold millions around the world. But think about the words:
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from the sin and the grave.
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
This works at home and abroad. The harvest field starts with your neighbor.
Written by Rev. Neil Fitchthorn Rev. Neil Fichthorn is a seasoned conference and camping servant having served at Gull Lake Bible Conference, Sandy Cove Ministries as President, and an interim Executive Director at Pinebrook Bible Conference. He also served in church music for decades as a choir director and arranger. He has been Bill Welte’s mentor and friend for over 45 years.
Daily Quote: “Lost people matter to God, and so they must matter to us.” — Keith Wright
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Galatians 5:5