Earlier I posted on how eye-opening meditating on one verse has been so far this year. The joy continues and so I thougth I’d share a little with you here.
Over the next few posts I will share what the Lord is teaching me through the repeated reflection… lately, this is taking form in the word-by-word examination of what this passage is actually saying. So here is the first in a series…
“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.” Luke 10:2
“The harvest”: what is it?
What is it, exactly, we are being called to harvest?
And perhaps, we should start at “the” rather than lumping that little article together with “harvest” straight off the bat.
Which harvest is “the” harvest? Is that even a valid question? Is the “the” there just there to make the grammar correct or does it serve a purpose in the meaning? Why didn’t Jesus say, “A harvest is plentiful…”?
It might sound silly, but these are important questions to ask – and answer. If we don’t know if Jesus was being precise about a specific harvest we could spend our time and resources on the wrong endeavor. And who among us wants to get to the end of our journey (or row) and find out we’ve spent everything we had on the wrong pursuits? This has huge implications for us!
Jesus was talking about a specific harvest – the harvest. The one he came to glean. His harvest of citizens into his kingdom. The rest of the text tells us this – his talk of the Kingdom is clear.
In agricultural terms, different things grow at the same time and in the same places as the crops intended for harvesting. Most particularly troublesome are the weeds that keep pace with the planted crops.
Farmers spend huge amounts of time and large sums of money to keep the wrong things from being harvested.
And even if giant foxtail or water hemp aren’t the bane of your existence, neighbors in the burbs can relate to this notion as well – dandelions grow with the grass. Unlike dandelions, however, sometimes the weeds look very similar to the planted crops. Good things can look like the bad ones and worse yet, the bad ones can look like good. Knowledge and wisdom are needed to take care of the right things and not get duped by the wrong ones.
Through the years of parenting toddlers, I’ve had my fair share of “dandelion harvests” given to me in chubby-fisted “bouquets.” Not wanting to offend the cherub that just handed me a bunch of weeds, we keep them as best as is possible in a cup or jar. If you’ve ever had a child hand you a similar bouquet you know where this is going… If you’re not careful, you end up with a slimy, reeking, rotting mess that while “pretty” in the beginning leads to nothing but a mess to clean up and more weeds being planted by the scattering of seed.
Working on the wrong harvest is more than just a nuisance. It is a devastatingly pitiful exercise. If I spend my time, effort, and resources harvesting weeds – dandelion heads or other weeds – I have gained nothing and I have wasted the crops.
The same is true for this particular harvest that Jesus is calling us to. If we are not careful – and wise – we could end up spending our lives tending things that look good but end up rotting.
No, there is a specific harvest that Jesus wants his workers to concentrate on – the harvest. And it is good.