Tonight, West Coast Baptist College will send its 26th graduating class into the harvest fields. I have been privileged to watch each group head out into the spiritual workforce. That first class only had three graduates: one is in heaven, one is a pastor, and one is a missionary. Decades later, almost 3,000 graduates have been sent out, and thousands more have been challenged to serve faithfully.
The motto of WCBC has been, since day one, “Training laborers for the harvest.” This vision was birthed out of a desire to provide an answer to the only prayer request Jesus ever gave in the New Testament:
The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.-Jesus, Matthew 9.37-38
As another wave of Christian servants join our ranks, I’ve thought again about this simple prayer request Jesus has left for us. Let’s observe three quick thoughts from Jesus about the harvest.
The Truth of the Harvest
As Jesus sees the multitude, He is moved with compassion. He sees them as scattered, as sheep without a shepherd. He sees them fainting, tired, in need of help. With this view in mind, He tells the disciples: “The harvest is plenteous…”
Here’s the truth of Jesus’ statement: There are places where the Gospel seed has been planted, watered, and is now waiting for someone to help with the harvest. We have the Great Commission to “seed” the world with the gospel – I get that. Yet, in this passage, the emphasis is that there is a harvest already there, waiting for laborers.
The Timing of the Harvest
Again, Jesus instructs His disciples as He looks upon the multitude. Seeing the thousands, He says, “There’s the harvest; it is plenteous (it’s large, above average, there’s a great number…)” Here is what we must understand: the harvest will not wait; we can’t choose to “get around to it” – lest we miss the harvest.
The timing of the harvest Jesus has in mind is right now!
The Trouble with the Harvest
This great multitude of people has been brought to a point where they are ready to hear the gospel and receive Christ. But there’s so many…how can these 12 men ever reach them in time?
There’s not a problem with the seed – God’s Word never returns void; it always accomplishes God’s purposes. There’s not a problem with God’s desire: He’s not willing that any perish; He loves the entire world and has died for them. So, what is the trouble?
There is a labor shortage. That’s the trouble in the first century; that’s the trouble still today. While we celebrate a group of laborers entering the field, we are also reminded of this simple truth: More laborers are still needed.
In the words of that old song: “My house is full; my fields are empty…Who will go and work for me today?”