I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 24:30-34)
Tomorrow is Labor Day. Scripture has a great deal to say about the importance of work for God’s people. We are to learn to be productive like the ant (Proverbs 6:6-11). We are to work on our jobs just as if we are working for the Lord (Ephesians 6:5-8). We are told that if someone refuses to work, they should not be allowed to eat (1 Thessalonians 3:10).
But I want us to think particularly about how we apply this concept to the work of the church. Consider the words of Jesus:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 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.” (Matthew 9:36-38).
I wonder sometimes if we really believe that sinners are lost. We read that in the Bible, of course. We read too that they must obey Christ so that they can be saved. We even talk a lot about lost souls. But we seem to do so little about it that I wonder if we really believe it.
Perhaps we have been thinking about this all wrong. Maybe we thought we were working when we became members of some congregation that supports several missionaries in various parts of the country or the world. After all, we are helping to send them, so we are proving our love and our concern for lost souls. We are doing our part to bring people to Jesus.
Don’t misunderstand me – it is a great thing for a church to send preachers to teach people about Jesus. That does not, however, excuse anyone from doing his or her best to convert those in their own sphere of influence, those in their circle of friends. Sending a missionary to Africa or India or anywhere else does not convert people in our own community. For that matter, supporting a preacher where we live does not convert many of them either. You see, it is not just the role of the missionary or the preacher to lead lost souls to Jesus. Jesus said to let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16).That call is personal; it is individual.
People are dying every day without Christ all around us and we are doing little about it individually. But every one of us can preach the sermon Jesus wanted to be preached. He does not ask for great orators; he calls for us to live lives that will bring others to Him. There have been more people brought to Jesus through lives where Jesus could be seen than by any other method. Conversely, some have been driven away because of the disconnect between what members of the Lord’s body preach and how they live. A good example is a good sermon. And some of our very best sermons are withheld from others because we put our lights under a bushel.
f we want others to know that the Lord is important in our lives, we must start with a life of dedication and commitment. Our neighbors must see that the Lord and the church are more important to us than anything or anyone else. Do you love Jesus? Then live his kind of life. Tell those you see you love Jesus and let them see it in the way you live. Let your light shine.
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Are you ready to get to work?