“When [Jesus] saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” (Matthew 9:36-38).
Do Jesus’ words about a ripe harvest apply today? Where do we see evidence that fields are white and ready to be harvested? Is there a cry for holiness in this generation? With few exceptions, these things aren’t happening. Yet, none of these things moved Jesus in his time. Rather, he was moved by the sad conditions he saw on every side. Everywhere he looked, people were overwhelmed with distress. In fact, when he gazed out over Jerusalem, he wept over the hardness and spiritual blindness he saw (see Luke 19:41). Here were people headed for judgment, with no peace, only fear and depression.
Jesus actually gives us a picture of what the last days will look like. “There will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity … men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:25-26). In short, Jesus is describing here the most anxious, depressed, stressed-out generation of all time.
Are his prophecies happening even now, before our eyes? This generation is full of anxiety and worry. I hear Jesus’s words: “The fields are white. The harvest is plentiful.” He is telling his church, “People are ready to hear. This is the time to believe for a harvest, a time for you to start reaping!”
Christ is the Lord of the harvest and he is saying to us, “Stop focusing on the difficulties around you and, instead, raise your eyes and see that the harvest is ready.” As laborers, we are the instruments of harvest in the Lord’s hand. God is looking for those who will stand before the world and proclaim, “God is with me! Satan can’t stop me. Just look at my life. I am more than a conqueror through Christ, who lives in me!”