The Harvest is Plentiful, but the Workers are Few

Luke 10: 2 | By Rev Arek O'Connell


Last summer I led a mission trip to Compton, California with over 20 high school students. When we landed, we quickly realized we had traveled into a heat wave. While we were there the daily temperature often exceeded 105 degrees. Additionally, this was one of the very few weeks that the LA area had excessive humidity accompanying the high heat. On average we worked outside eight to nine hours a day that week.

Luckily for us, we found our Oasis. One of the pastors at nearby church had a pool that he would let us jump into in between work projects. However, this was not a luxury this week, it was a necessity. Most of us looked forward to pool time more than any other part of the day because it offered relief that we yearned for. The one day that I suggested we might not be able to travel to the pool, I almost experienced a mutiny.

On our last day, which was the hottest, there was a project that required a handful of our students to stay back while the rest of the team traveled to the pool. The students who begrudgingly decided to stay back had to learn how to grout tile flooring for the first time in their life without air conditioning. Words cannot begin to describe how badly I felt for these students. Their one moment of relief from the heat had been taken away and been replaced with the worst conditions of the entire week. I thought of them the entire time we drove to and from the pool. Upon my arrival I expected to have three very frustrated students when I returned.

Imagine my surprise when I was greeted by the widest smiles I had seen all week from any student. While we were at the pool seeking refuge from the heat, these students formed a relationship with the owners and neighbors of the house. The way they described their work and experience truly made the rest of the team jealous. They learned a new skill, they heard the stories of the people they were serving, and they got to see the faces of gratitude for the work they had accomplished. They would tell you that they saw a glimpse of the Kingdom of God and saw God in action vividly while they worked in that hot house telling stories and grouting. Each one of those students said it was the highlight of their entire trip.

To think they almost went to the pool… Before Jesus sent his disciples out for their mission, I’m sure he knew they would often seek moments of relief and relaxation. The work they were assigned was no small task and I’m sure it wore them out. Which is why I think it’s no coincidence that the first thing Jesus told them was “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Jesus knew that the opportunities of accomplishing the assigned task would far exceed the disciples' time and abilities. He also reminded them, as he reminds us, that we should seek to seize those opportunities. For when we do, we might be surprised by the outcome. We might see the kingdom of God in a way we never have. We might see God in action more vibrantly then ever before. Those are opportunities we don’t want to miss.


God has granted you an opportunity to serve him today. Seize it.


God, give us the ears to hear and the eyes to see the opportunities you’ve laid before us. May you remind us that you’ve given us breath today, which means you have called us in some fashion. Grant us the strength to go where you send us so that we may see your kingdom come.

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