LABORERS IN THE HARVEST
Perhaps, like me, you have seen it many times: new believers, very excited about what Jesus had done for them, and what God has revealed to them, riding appropriately high on this new hope, excited about their new understanding about salvation and abut finding repentance, forgiveness, and peace, and just sure God wants them hired by a church or ministry. Perhaps, as a longtime believer you have a new, renewed or even long-standing passion to share you “hope of glory” with others via what might be considered some form of full-time ministry.
Some, of course, will get the opportunity for that – being employed by a church to do their women’s ministry or music ministry or working with their homeless outreach or doing missionary work in the inner city or some far off land or full-time work as a paid writer, editor, social media manager, etc. I believe these are the things we typically think of when we think of being in “full-time ministry” as women. If you do get that opportunity, God bless you in your service. Most of us won’t get that opportunity, though.
The Bible makes it very clear that there is a need for more laborers in the Gospel work.
Matthew 9:35-38 [ESV] 35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for 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 laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." So, are the ones working in direct or full-time ministry the only ones Jesus was talking about when He called for more laborers? I don’t believe He was only talking about needing more people to be in full-time ministry.
The Word tells all of us to prepare to be good workers. 2 Timothy 2:15 [NKJV] 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
This means women too: Philippians 4:3 [WEB] 3 And I entreat thee also, true yoke-fellow, help those women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and [with] other my fellow-laborers, whose names [are] in the book of life. [Emphasis mine] Given the era, it is very unlikely that these women were doing the same things, the same job, as Paul and Timothy. They probably fed Paul and Timothy, maybe housed them, perhaps repaired their robes, prayed with them, possibly gave them money. Like Priscilla, they probably were as knowledgeable about the gospel as the men, and able to answer questions. See Acts 18:26 and Romans 16:3.
These scriptures tell me that every one of us is meant to be a laborer in the harvest.
Also, please don’t think I am encouraging you to just “pay (tithes and offerings) and pray.” I believe God wants more from you than that, as long as we can do more. He wants every one of us to be able to rightly divide the word of truth. He wants each of us/all of us to be workers. There are no bystanders in this work. The need is just too great to give anyone a pass on working in the Gospel service.
To paraphrase Beth Moore, God needs good Christian examples (laborers in the harvest) in every job out there – doctors and nurses, lawyers and secretaries, moms and wives, teachers, customer service telephone reps, programmers, receptionists, wait staff, bank tellers, sales people, etc. There isn’t a job available where God cannot use you to “minister” to those around you.
There isn’t a job in the world where “peace that passes all understanding,” won’t stand out to those around you. There isn’t a job out there where enduring patience and genuine kindness will not stand out. There isn’t a job out there where the fruit of the Holy Spirit cannot have a positive impact on the world and on the people around you.
You can be a person who never gets ruffled by angry customers, but always answers them with kindness and patience. You can be the person that never gossips, to the point that everyone at the office knows not to bother sharing gossip with you. You can refuse to step on others to climb the corporate ladder, even if it means you miss out on a promotion or raise. You can proactively befriend the quiet person, the tattooed gal, the smelly guy – the ones who tend to be marginalized or ignored at work (and sometimes at church). You can be a business owner who always has a “just measure” charging a fair price for your goods and paying your workers a fair wage. [See Deuteronomy 25:15 and Proverbs 11:1]
You don’t need to have a paid position in God’s work, be in full-time ministry of some sort, or become a missionary to be a laborer in the harvest. In whatever career or job you take to put food on the table, God can and will use you to His glory as a laborer in His harvest. Ask Him to lead you to where He needs you most, to where your talents are best put to use in taking care of life’s responsibilities (like paying bills and raising kids) and in shining the light of His love and His Kingdom and His Gospel message on the world around you.
Fellow laborers, let’s go to work!
I welcome your comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org