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 9:37–38)
The main speaker at a writers’ conference talked about writing as a calling. She said that was not the way to consider our lives. “We are called to love and obey God. Today you might be writing; tomorrow He might ask you to do something else.”
Chambers writes about those caught up in what they think is the calling of God. It might be leading a church, or going to the mission field, or some other designated work, yet while their focus is on that, they miss God’s calling to bring in a harvest next door, or in their family, or in a most unlikely spot.
God does call people to certain actions, yet even Jesus was open to interruptions and changes in direction. A far more important issue, whatever we are doing, is earnest prayer.
I cannot dictate to God what I’m supposed to be doing or what I want to do. My decisions, wants, and wishes may not line up with the will of God, even if I pick something noble. Submission to Him is exactly what it says. He is the Lord of my life and I am not. It is by prayer that I find out what He intends and by prayer that I take care of all burdens and desires.
Some of my praying is for the laborers, those who have decided to follow Jesus and who must be supported in prayer. Some of my praying is for those Jesus calls “the harvest” — unsaved family and friends as well as people from various prayer lists and missionary letters.
Prayer calendars also tell me of needs around the world, some of which bring tears as I pray. As Jesus said, I ask God to supply what is needed, all the time aware that in praying for Him to send out laborers, I could be one of those He sends. As Chambers says, pray and He will engineer circumstances and thrust you out, or not. Whatever He asks of me, I’m not to let my age, or health, or any other reason be an excuse to refuse His directions to me.
It is easy to pray as if I know the answer. That is, I have told God how to fix the problem. If a person is sick, I might pray for healing — but what if God is using sickness to speak to that person’s heart? Another person is out of work and I pray for a job — but what if God is using that lean time to draw her into greater reliance upon Him?
Jesus knows there is a harvest, that is, a great many people are hungry for Him, ready to know Him. Their need is to hear the gospel or to have someone explain to them how Jesus is their everything. They need a witness to the truth about God’s mighty gift of salvation.
The Bible says that, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Yet how will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:13–14)
Verse 17 says that faith comes from hearing. God uses dreams, visions, His Word, even the writing of those who write, yet faith is about “hearing through the Word of Christ.
As for me, I need to listen to the Spirit of God and take what He says to the hears of someone else. Our voice is to go out to all the earth and our words to the ends of the world (Romans 10:18).
How do I know when or where or how or what to say and who to say it to? Prayer is the connection to God by which I share with Him the burdens and requests on my heart, but prayer is also the way I find out what He wants from me.