Workers in the harvest
"Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest'" (Matthew 9:37-38).
The first of these sentences spoken by the Lord Jesus gives us His diagnosis regarding the reality of His time: "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few". He revealed that the need was great but few were the ones that could solve the situation. Whenever the Lord saw the multitudes, He always had compassion on them, because He saw they were helpless and scattered, as sheep without a shepherd.
Undoubtedly, this is also the present reality. The cities are full, but the people are solitary and depressed. Mundane pleasures are a temporary and scant saccharine tablet to satisfy hungry souls that were created to find their satisfaction only in God.
However, the second of these statements is not a call for action, as you might think. Nor it is an order for God's servants to mobilize and go seek lost souls. It is, rather, an exhortation to the disciples to talk to God first about the matter.
The natural tendency is to offer oneself to help. Or, if the human character is more impulsive, to run to solve the pressing need. But the Lord clearly said: "Pray to the Lord of the harvest". Humans are the harvest and they belong to God. It is He who must send to them the help of life, the necessary supply for their souls.
The plea, the entreaty is: "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest". The laborers are not volunteers that run to do the work of God, but are selected and called. Even more, they are handpicked, trained, enabled and sent. We underline "enabled" and "sent".
God does not send workers without training them first. Of course, this does not mean that He graduates them before they have actually had experiences in the way of faith. He wisely coaches them to have at least some personal and very essential encounters with Him. Thus they receive the basic tools for spiritual service. On their way, as they march, they will be completing their preparation, but at least they must have that minimum basis. If not, how would they know what to do, what to say? If they do not know the purpose and design of God's work, how could they do an intelligent work?
After they are trained and qualified, He sends them. When Isaiah saw the glory of God (chapter 6), and heard God's call, the prophet answered: "Here am I, send me" (verse 8). Note that he does not say: "Here am I. I am going". It is not about running to do something, just because God has called. What God requires is that the servant first responds to the call, and then, to wait until he is sent.
Waiting is perhaps the most difficult part of spiritual service. Someone said that a worker is really prepared to serve God only when He is willing not to be used by God. The capacity to wait is the best sign of humility and submission to the will of God.
Although the harvest truly is plentiful, one has to pray and wait for God to send workers to His harvest. Only in that way the work they will do will be spiritual, will be God's work.