But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few
One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour
Yesterday I examined an individual interpretation of a field being sowed and reaped, but I would be remiss to pass over the more universal meaning Jesus stressed on more than one occasion. The harvest he refers to in these passages is clearly that of bringing God’s children back to Him. It is the work of ministry.
And this isn’t just any harvest, it is one that has extended over millennia, with multiple stages of development. In this work we not only work shoulder-to-shoulder with Peter and Paul, but even Abraham and Moses.
Other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours
God has been staging this work since the very beginning of this world. He has had a specific plan directing which of His servants were called to plant, to nurture, and to reap. Moses was not to called to free the world, only the Hebrews. That sapling had been considerably wounded, and for a time required exclusive care before it could branch out further.
It was not until much later that Peter received a command that now was the time for the Gentiles to receive the Good News. A common criticism of Christianity is that the rules around it have changed throughout the years. Yet we do not question a farmer who keeps infant plants in small pots, then later integrates them into the broader field. It’s just doing what is called for at the time.
Countless disciples have worked tirelessly throughout the ages to ensure a bounteous harvest. They did their part well, for which service all of us have been made the beneficiaries.
Now the torch has been passed on to us. Our duty is to see that all the sacrifices of those that came before do not go to waste. The Lord has never rescinded the commandment to reap. We know the harvest ends soon, and it wouldn’t do to leave any fruit out there to spoil!