What happens when an industry has more work than it does workers? A labor shortage. Recently I have heard about and read of labor shortages in the construction industry. Many skilled contractors are reaching retirement and leaving the industry while young people are not filling their ranks. Many have warned about the ominous threat that faces the construction industry: widespread labor shortages. This is definitely a concern for our national economy, however, there is a more serious labor shortage that must be addressed and is addressed by Jesus in Luke 10.
Jesus spoke of this labor shortage in Luke 10:2- “…The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” This is a labor shortage of eternal consequence. This shortage extends beyond the natural and temporal realm into the spiritual and eternal realm. This is a shortage of laborers in God’s harvest!
Growing up in the Midwest and now living in the farm country of Pennsylvania, I have developed a great appreciation for farmers. I appreciate the work that they do and hours that they put in so that we can have affordable and accessible food. Every year a farmer goes through a cycle of sowing, fertilizing, harvesting. When harvest time comes, a farmer must make sure that he has the manpower to collect the crop. To have a great harvest, yet few laborers, will result in crops going to waste. And in the same way, Jesus reminded us that the “harvest” for souls is great. There is an abundance of spiritual fruit to be gleaned. The tragedy, however, is that the laborers are few.
May we have the heart of Christ and lift up our eyes to see the urgent and great need to work while we can. Jesus calls upon us to pray for more laborers in the harvest. We must pray but we must also be willing to “go” as “lambs among wolves” (v. 3) into our own fields at home. To be a lamb among wolves is not a comforting thought. However, 1 Peter 3 reminds us: “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?…be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (vv. 13-15).
Just as an anxious farmer looks upon his precious crops ready to be harvested, so we must look upon the near fields of our neighborhoods the distant fields of the world that are in need of laborers to be raised up and sent forth. Pray for the laborers that God has raised up and pray that God would raise up more!