Most of us at one time have found ourselves asked to serve on either a church committee, a community service project, or have been asked to volunteer on one of the countless charity drives that needs neighborhood coverage, right?
I have, and it takes my memory back to when I was in high school and the summers spent working at a local care center mowing grass and trimming. I was always a good day when I got to ride the old Farmall Tractor. There were (most) days however when I was on the trim detail and would carry around a weed wacker all day trimming the grass around the property.
I remember, at times, that we would have an insufficient number of workers because some never bothered to show up. This left the remaining few to bear the heat of the day for a longer time (of course me always with the weed wacker).
Equally frustrating were those “workers” that spent a great deal of time talking or goofing off.
They were capable of the work, but their desire and effort fell short of what the rest of us expected from them.
Is that any different than what this weekend’s lesson in the Gospel reading for this week from Matthew 9 is all about? I don’t think so.
Many of us are capable of doing more work for God’s harvest than what we have exhibited.
We all probably know many people with whom we have neglected to share our faith.
It’s not that they’re a hopeless case but probably because we have never taken the time to invite them to our church, into our homes, or even to greet them on the street. We probably never lifted a finger either when they needed help.
Perhaps in our propensity to prejudge we didn’t consider them much of a promising crop, but more like a thistle or a stalk of ragweed. Who then, is going to bring these people into Christ’s presence if we are not willing to make an effort?
In the spring the farmers plant the seed.
But if the crop is to survive, it will be by his efforts to do what is required to bring it to fruition, and of course, the weather will play a big part.
In our case, we believers, despite the lack of willingness to intentionally approach another human being about the Good News, should somehow lay the groundwork so that another may plant a seed. Then hopefully, another, to come along to nourish and encourage the growth of that person into a life with Christ. Working together and never taking our eyes from this vast field, we can help bring in the harvest.
We are in the middle of summer. Did you do any spring planting? Are you currently nurturing new growth? What are your plans for this fall? We are commanded to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, so let’s get out in the field and show that Christ is in our life and can be in our neighbors as well. We just need to show up for work with a compassionate heart.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.Psalm 65
To the leader. A Psalm of David. A Song.
Praise is due to you,
O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
you forgive our transgressions.
Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
your holy temple.
By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.
You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”