Returning to South Dakota for my father’s funeral in late fall, I was struck with the fact that it was harvest season. I grew up in a rural community where this was just part of the farming cycle but I had been away from the area for over 10 years living in a Texas urban city. Being exposed again to the sights and sounds of tractors in the cornfields, I gained fresh insight into harvesting souls in direct correlation to short-term mission trips.
This seven part devotional series is based on the well-known scripture…
“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” (Matthew 9:37-38 NIV, ©2010)
We will begin on the premise that the seed has already been planted in the mission field. Most likely, your mission group is working with local missionaries (transplanted or raised up from the community) who are assisting you with the details of your trip. They have been fervently tilling the soil, sowing the seed, fertilizing the sprouts and spraying for weeds. Jesus is quick to reminds us of this fact as He did with His twelve disciples, “I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” (John 4:38 NIV, ©2010)
God has done His part in the farming process too! “I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7 NLT)
In 2 Corinthians 9:10, God states that not only does He provide the seed to the sower, He also multiplies the seed after it is sown AND increases the fruits. The harvest is now so abundant that more help is required to bring in the crop. Subsequently, we hear the Lord summoning, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8a KJV). I applaud you in answering boldly, as Isaiah the prophet did, “Here am I! Send me!”
Farmers always have a small window of time to harvest their crops due to weather impediments and ground conditions. Jesus communicates this same urgency to His disciples, “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35 NIV, ©2010) Be confident knowing that you are God’s anointed co-worker, and you will be arriving to harvest the ripened field at His appointed time.
KESHER TIP (connection): Soil Analysis
According to Wikipedia, in agriculture by testing the soil you can determine nutrient content, composition and other characteristics, including contaminants. Take some focused time to analyze the soil of your mission field. What is the historical background, educational level and socio-economic condition of the country? What are the spiritual beliefs, tribal customs, local traditions and family dynamics of the region? Find out more about the local missionary with whom you will be working and the type of ministry he/she provides to the community of your destination.
Go to the next devotion entitled, “Rainfall”, in this Harvest devotional series!
If you liked this one, check out “NO HESITATION”