I had an ah-ha moment with Jesus' words that the harvest is ready and for us to pray for God to send harvesters into the field. When you harvest, you reap individual rice or grains. When you finish reaping, you have many, but those many are composed of individuals.
A harvester reaps through discipleship and discipleship depends on close relationships with few. This is why the overwhelming need for mature Christ-followers to live in the fields with a harvest mindset.
Harvesting isn't church. Harvesting isn't evangelism. (Although, it includes both.) Harvesting is reaping through walking with individuals in close daily relationships.
In our life, the need for harvesters is magnified because the individuals are many. There are too many individuals for us to harvest through discipleship.
There is one more reason why we need multiple harvesters in the same field. God doesn't always use the same person to plant, water, and harvest. He likes to use a variety of people to harvest one person. This requires individuals reaching out to individuals to reach each one with the gospel and freedom of Jesus Christ.
Missionaries and pastors try to fill this gap by intentionally doing a variety of harvesting activities, including from wide-spectrum medical ministry and evangelism to small-group discipleship of individuals and families. Jesus did this when he traveled from town to town, teaching, healing, and casting out demons, and at the same time investing in seventy, in twelve and in three. As he multi-tasked in harvesting, He clearly saw the need for more harvesters. Why? What do you think He saw?
Can you imagine being called to harvest? There are individual people with names, birthdays, and spiritual futures who are willing to be discipled. They wake up every day and fight their battles without Christ. Why don't the Swansons help them? Why don't the local churches help them? Jesus saw the problem clearly: There are many, many individuals waiting to be discipled.
There are many involved in the mission. Jesus and His disciples were harvesting and there were many in the background who were providing hospitality and other resources. As you read the gospels, you see them serving quietly. The truth that needs to be remembered is that it takes a team to harvest. Some of the team are sending, some are going. All are part of the harvest! The thrust of this article is to shed light on the reason why Jesus calls for us to pray for harvesters. It is equally important to realize that all members of the mission team are uniquely important, whether they are support team or field-workers! God's call is for faithfulness in listening to Him!
To sum up, mission is a mindset and not a location. The quest that I'm calling you to is to seek God's call to harvest! If you seek His call to disciple, He will clearly direct you to the location where the Lord of the Harvest needs your skills, talents, and personality to reach individuals with the good news of new life in Christ!
We're a family on mission to bring the good news of Jesus to the Philippines.