The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few. (Luke 10:2)
Probably all of us have noticed that the Lord uses this metaphor over and over again. The metaphor of farming.
The reign of God starts with seeds being sewn. The farmer has laid out and fenced-off an organized plantation, providing all the necessary implements and irrigation. The seeds grow by a mysterious power of their own, by day and by night, over a long period of time. Weeds grow among them, but pulling all the weeds up might harm the good plants. The master hires workers to work the fields. The tenants try to deceive and cheat him; the supervisors deal dishonestly with him, and don’t meet their commitments. So he gives the work over to others. At the proper time, the master orders the harvest and looks for the produce of the land. He is perfectly happy to hire people at the last minute, all the way up until the final reaping. Then he separates wheat from chaff. He gathers the fruit of the earth into his barns.
Life, the world, the course of history, our own decisions, deeds, and habits, the endeavors we undertake and the struggles we endure, the eternal destiny of our immortal souls—all of this falls within the grasp of the Lord’s great metaphor of farming.
God created this fertile field–the cosmos–and He moves everything–all the elements of reality—towards the purpose: that the field would bear an abundant harvest. An abundant harvest of fulfilled potential. God endows everything and everyone with a reason for being, with a particular goal, with the power to bud forth beautifully as something that has never before been seen.
Because God’s own goodness abounds—abounds immeasurably, infinitely—because God’s own goodness is so abundant, the goodness that can pour out—pouring out of everything and everyone He has made—this goodness of creation also abounds. The harvest abounds plentifully. The glory that lies in all of us, and in everything—the potential aching to come to fruition—it is more than we can imagine. It’s truly awesome.
When, please God, we finally behold the whole universe in the state of its final unfolding—when all that God wills to come to pass has finally come to pass, and the eternal Sabbath day comes—when, please God, we gaze upon that beautiful spectacle, and see the breathtaking genius of God’s entire plan—which will make the genius of Mozart, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, and all the rest, all rolled up into one, seem like tiddly-winks—when we see that…well, we’ll be happy. We’ll be pretty siked.
So the harvest abounds. But the laborers? Scarce. The Lord Himself says they are scarce, so they must be. Even though you would think everyone would want to participate in the production of God’s marvelous harvest. After all, nothing could reward our labor better. And nothing requires less drudgery on our part—if drudgery means labor spent without a motivating purpose.
But the laborers do not line up to serve God and work for His harvest. Instead, we line up for the latest smartphone, or for Beyonce tickets, or to catch a glimpse of Kim Kardashian’s baby.
We spend our energy cultivating our own egos, puffing them up every day with nothing but air. Then the air seeps out overnight, and we have to do it all again tomorrow. And it gets harder every day, keeping our egos puffed. Requires more air every day.
To give up our ego trips and labor for God’s harvest makes more sense, really. Offers much greater job satisfaction.
Now, to find the great Master we want to work for, to find the will of God each day, I have to do the most difficult thing, I think, that a human being can do. Every day, I have to let God raise my eyes above the horizons I have. Because my horizons do not rise high enough. God’s horizons are always higher than mine.
The Lord sees the potential, the beauty, the nobility that I cannot see. If I let Him, He will lift me up higher, and I will see more of what He sees. But for me to reach the higher point-of-view, I have to reject my own. I have to reject my own take on things.
Not too many laborers want to step out into the utter darkness every morning—the utter darkness of admitting to myself that I really do not see the whole picture, and I really don’t know what I am doing. My only hope is if God takes my hand, leads me, and teaches me. Not too many laborers want to roll like that with the all-knowing God. Not too many laborers want to become like little children. But that is what we must do, if we want to escape from the slavery which our own egos impose on us.
I have to face the utter darkness of this truth: I am one milli-zilli-second away from nothingness. Whatever separates me from dust, pointless dust—the only thing that separates me from that? God. The invisible God.
Let’s work for Him, brothers and sisters. Let’s let Him work His harvest with our hands.
We just have to admit that we don’t know how to do it, and only He can teach us. He readily teaches willing pupils who admit that we have a lot to learn.