35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area,
teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom.
And he healed every kind of disease and illness.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
37 He said to his disciples,
"The harvest is great,
but the workers are few.
38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest;
ask him to send more workers into his fields."
I heard this passage used over & over again while at Asbury University to challenge us to full time Christian service as missionaries. I've heard it used before like that many times, & of course, some since.
Many of my friends at Asbury responded to that call and spent the next 40+ years in far flung places, many with strange sounding names & customs, with difficult languages to learn & navigate.
Many of them of retired, either moving back to America or choosing to stay where they've ministered all their adult lives.
I think about the ripple effect of their lives on the people they served & loved in their places of foreign ministry, and how that ripple effect will go on for eternity.
I think of many of my friends who responded to that call as a mandate to reach out in ministry here in America.
I have watched their lives these 40+ years & seen how they continued to reach out to people with the bottom line of trying to get them to make the eternal connect with God through Jesus.
And I think about the eternal ripple effect of those people who chose to accept the mandate to be “worker in the harvest”.
But these words of Jesus are a mandate for ALL of us.
There are people around us all the time who are going slam to hell – people who live desperate lives, unfulfilled, lives that don't mean a whole lot to anyone or to themselves.
We have the keys to life – we know about Jesus & know about the new life He brings.
We know the desperation & darkness that is endemic to a life lived disconnected from Him.
Each of us has the mandate to go – go to people who lives lives lost from a connection with God.
And that mandate may be to go to strange, wonderful, difficult places overseas, or in places of ministry here in America, in “full time Christian service.”
But the overwhelming majority of us are mandated to reach out to people right where we are, where we work, where we live, where we go to the gym or grocery or garage.
The harvest is VAST, but few of us are willing to try to tell people about what each have found in Jesus – the Life, the Truth, the Way.
Where would you & I be is they people who pointed us to life with Jesus had not answered the call by God to tell others about Him?
We all know the answer to that question.
And each & every one of us has the same influence & eternal ripple effect one others that people had on us.
“Lord of the harvest, light Your fire in me...”