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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Abundant Lancaster County harvest
This harvest view is on Carmany Road about 1 mile from our home and a frequent view as we walk in our neighborhood.  The fields, barns, trees, and blue sky make for a colorful country setting.
Large view

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This week we are sharing a series on the Ultimate Harvest based on Matthew 9:35-38.  It's harvest time here in our area and all around us we see, hear, and at times even smell evidence of the harvest.

"The Ultimate Harvest Prayer"

"When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 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 9:36-38).

Monday and Tuesday of this week we wrote about the first part of today's Scripture portion where Matthew described Jesus' response as He looked out upon the crowds.  It is Jesus' example that shows us:
Then Jesus addressed His disciples. "Then He said to his disciples." This was a memorable teaching moment that surely impacted them long after He returned to heaven, enough so that Matthew recorded it in the Holy Scriptures. As they sought to fulfill the Great Commission I am sure this challenge often came to mind and was a recurring theme for sermons the disciples preached.

"The harvest is plentiful." Farmers strive for a good harvest. In seedtime they labor with the goal of having a plentiful harvest. Christ looked out on the vast fields of the human harvest and saw plenty. I feel this is one of those statements that is always true; at the time He said it and ever since. The harvest is always plentiful.  Elsewhere Jesus had said, "I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest" (John 4:35).

"But the workers are few." He had worked with twelve disciples and others, such as the Seventy, who served with Him during His ministry on this earth. Nevertheless He stated "the workers are few." This is an ongoing condition in the church. Local churches may have specific positions filled, but we realize our inadequacy when we acknowledge that the harvest field is the world.

"Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field."  This is the ultimate harvest prayer. The Almighty God of the universe is called "The Lord Of the Harvest".

1) The harvest prayer is a simple prayer to pray. In fact every reader could memorize it in a few minutes. "Lord of The Harvest, send workers into Your harvest field." This is a prayer for all ages, from youngest to oldest. Sunday afternoon I spoke at an area nursing home and challenged the elderly residents to pray this prayer. Little children can earnestly pray this as well.

2) The harvest prayer is a simple prayer to understand. Even those far removed from agriculture know that the harvest takes workers. Surely there were more needed in ancient farming practices, but even when using modern farming methods many workers are needed. It may be the worker in a John Deere factory making the equipment. It may be a local farm equipment salesman like my friend Curt, or Lee, who puts the equipment together just prior to delivery. But there's still work in the fields and scores of farmers are now at work bringing in the harvest. Likewise modern evangelism methods such as the internet have not diminished the need for workers. We still are best touched by one on one witness. As evangelism has been described: One beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.

3) The harvest prayer is a simple prayer to appropriate. Certainly this prayer is not to be prayed in a detached way but rather with a willingness to do our part as a worker in the harvest. The early disciples surely didn’t see this prayer as an excuse for not working in the spiritual harvest fields themselves. Likewise we all have a call to serve in some capacity as a worker. Our failure to do so is not because it is too hard, for God equips those He calls.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: "Lord of The Harvest, send workers into Your harvest field."

Hay harvest
These large round bales have eliminated much of the hard manual harvest work I did as a teenager and while in college. I especially recall working on a crew after I got married that put up hay for dairy farners north of Springfield, Missouri. You make hay when the sun shines and then you need to get it in the barn before it rains even if that means working all  through the night which we did several times.

Amish hay harvest
They still use the small bales giving many young men a taste of what real work is!  Several years ago I helped Jesse and his dad Eli put up hay although I really didn't last very long in the blistering heat.

Shortly after we moved to Lancaster County in 2001 my friend Galen told me:
"You know, they banned the round bales of hay!"
Perplexed by his statement I asked him why.  
He responded, "They said the cattle were no longer getting square meals everyday!"  
It took a second for the information to sink into my head that this was a farmer's joke!  I've told it many times since to my "uninformed" friends who visit the area.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Be Ye Glad"  Video  Glad

"Abba Father"  Video

"Bringing In The Sheaves" Video The Chuck Wagon Gang
I recall trips with our Amish friends Jesse and Anna Ruth.  They sing in their home and this is one of the songs the kids just love to sing. As we travel along I often hear them singing it in the back of the van.

"Field Of Souls"

"The Harvest"  I was unable to find a version of this powerful video to view online but if you can get a hold of it, it will surely touch your heart.

The Harvest, Multiple Language DVD EditionThe Harvest, Multiple Language DVD Edition
By Randolf Productions Inc
The season to gather in the crops has arrived, but in the midst of crisis, only a young boy's prayer can save The Harvest. Based on a true story, this powerful modern-day parable will inspire you to commit your energy and talents to reach the world for Christ---one person at a time. Approx. 17 minutes.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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