Lord of the Harvest

Matthew 9:37 “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

The farmers harvest…it denotes the culmination of much preparation and planning with lots of hard work that includes planting, watering, and tending to the fields until the reaping is to commence.

The Lord would often refer to the work of the Kingdom of God like the process a land owner goes through in bringing forth a crop. The harvest of souls does not occur without the same level of difficulty, but the reward for that work will be great.

The land belongs to the Lord, who is there faithful to work in His field?

God’s Investment

Are you the product of God investing time and effort into your life? Was the soil of your heart once rocky and filled with the thorns of this world, did the Lord send someone to till the soil of your heart and another to plant the seed of faith? Did the Lord care for you by watering you with His Spirit and produce in you a harvest of righteousness?

Luke 8:11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”

Maybe you have become a worker in His field, caring, tending, or planting in such a way that you had a part in this great harvest–if so, you have taken part in the greatest work known to man and your reward will be in accordance with your faithfulness.

When it’s all been said and when it’s all been done, all that will remain will be those who walked in faithfulness, trusted in obedience, and loved unconditionally.

The Lord of the harvest continues His work, the fields of this generation are still ripe for the harvest, and until the landowner returns, His workers must remain faithful. The days might seem long and the work arduous, but the work is not in vain.

You are not alone in the work.

The responsibility of the harvest doesn’t fall only on you—all that is good is produced by God and it is by His power, authority, and leading that people are brought into the Kingdom. If you are being used by God it is because you have softened your heart and made yourself available.

2 Corinthians 9:10 “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.”

It is His harvest—not yours.

It is the Lord who raises up workers and sets them down. There are many who are faithful and there are many who have been unfaithful, He sees and knows them all. Those controlled by the enemy are the ones who sow bad seed, from their evil works grows the invasive crops within the harvest. It is not up to His people to try and find and remove these weeds in the Kingdom, the Lord of the Harvest will do that one day.

Matthew 3:12 “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

You can however, test yourself and see if what you are producing is of God or is not of God. Self-evaluation is important, it helps bring clarity now so that we don’t receive shame one day later.

For those who have tried to mimic the way of the Lord instead of following His leading, the chastisement of the Lord is great.

Hosea 10:13 “You have plowed wickedness;
You have reaped iniquity.
You have eaten the fruit of lies,
Because you trusted in your own way,
In the multitude of your mighty men.”

For others, their level of trust has been minimal at best and they continue to hold onto a hardened past of hurt and distrust.

Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”

Testing our Work

How can we know if we what we are producing is good or if it is not?

It’s not easy to be reprimanded or reproved by God, but it is necessary if you truly want to be a servant in His Kingdom. God will instruct those who are not walking in obedience, but there are times when our ability to listen has been hampered.

If our focus is so driven toward self-fulfillment or pride, we can miss altogether the purpose for what God has called us. The deviation can be ever so slight, the mindset doesn’t need to wander far to miss the mark. For some people, they became so enamored with the work in the church, they missed a relationship with Christ altogether. The “altruism” of helping others became a “feeling” that gave them satisfaction and their expression of service was done under the banner of the church but glorified only themselves.

False Believers are scattered amidst the flock.

1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

The growing presence of false believers in the church or those who just claim to be “christians” is as prevalent as ever. It’s important to recognize bad fruit within the church, we must gently correct those who are controlled by world philosophy so they don’t lead others astray. Sometimes a correction is needed because of the influences of false prophets and teachers or the divisions these people often cause within the Body of Christ.

Many common misleadings made by false christians include:

* They seek feelings, blessings, experiences, etc. More interested in the by-products of faith than God Himself.
* They’re more committed to their denomination than the Church and the Word of God. Describes themselves by their denomination.
* They are overindulgent in the name of grace. Lacks the penitence of a true, contrite heart
Says “I believe in God”, but nothing follows in their lives. There is no history of repentance from sin.
* The have no real sensitivity to sin (e.g. lies with ease, attempts to justify actions that run contrary to God’s Word).
* There’s no real desire to read, study, or learn about God’s Word. Most times does not grasp the truths of the Bible if they read it.
* They desire the “food” of the world, whether it’s the world’s music, entertainment, lifestyle, or comedy. Has no changed affections toward the things of God; retains affections for the world.
* They side with the world on ethical issues that conflict with Scripture (e.g. homosexuality, abortion)
* They have little to no meaningful prayer life.
* There’s No desire to witness to others about God.
* They describe their salvation experience in dry terms that have little or no real meaning to them (e.g. “I was baptized when I was 12”).
* They have a fixation on works and/or plays the comparison game with others in hopes of elevating their worth in the eyes of God vs. demonstrating an understanding that salvation is only by faith.

If world philosophy dominates a person’s life then any attempt at being productive in God’s Kingdom becomes a practice in sowing weeds in the Kingdom, not wheat.

If you fall into several of these categories, it’s time to reevaluate where you are in Christ. True believers hearts and minds will align with God’s Word. There may be times when someone is swayed by culture or fear becomes more prevalent and they lean toward darkness, but these don’t disqualify them from Christ. It’s those who lack any semblance of Christ who are in danger of God’s winnowing fork.

When patterns of unfaithfulness become consistent expressions of a person’s life, they should be warned.

Remain Steadfast

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

If your work is founded in your strength, you will soon grow weary. Unless the Lord is the One who is sustaining the work, you don’t have the capacity to press on.

To have both a steadfast spirit and to be productive in God’s Kingdom requires a consistent pattern of remaining in Christ. When it is the Lord working in and through you, the results will be good and the reward for faithfulness is assured.

Matthew 9:38 “Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Until the Lord returns, there is still work to be done. Pray that God will use you in His Kingdom and then look for the opportunities He provides. He won’t force you into service, but looks for the ones with willing hearts, ready to be used by Him.

Are you ready for God to use you?

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