“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
You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth saying here: whenever you see the word “therefore” you need to look and see what it’s there for.
Therefore is a connecting word. It connects what has preceded it to what is coming next. There is culmination involved. The speaker or writer has been building a case, setting the stage, laying it out as it were to get to something else.
Jesus has done just that here. The stage is set:
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” has been laid out for all it’s glorious, yet problematic reality. Jesus has a gargantuan task for his followers to work hard in. A task so big and so far reaching that it is impossible, except that we know that nothing is impossible with God.
And now he’s about to explain how we are to participate with Him in His glorious plan. There should be anticipation, expectancy, hope! – for we’ve just seen the problem but we know that the Savior we serve is full of miraculous, unexpected answers for the impossible.
We’ve looked closely at each of these words, both in their meaning separately and in how they stand together. This is Jesus talking to us. This is our Savior who has drawn us so effectively to himself that he has taken our hearts of stone and turned them into hearts of flesh to follow hard after him. This is our friend and teacher – our guide and protector – who has told us “fear not, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. He will never leave you nor forsake you…”
Everything that precedes the “therefore” is to remind us of the kind of Master we serve. It is setting the foundation for what follows. It gives us all the reasons for the next part. It is saying, “because of all of this….”
We need the foundation because we forget who we are talking about. We need the setting of the stage because we lose sight of the plan. We need the case to be built again for us – plainly – because we get distracted by so many lesser things.
Remembering that he is good and kind, faithful, true, loving, patient, powerful, and every other thing that we know is TRUE of the mighty God we serve will give us courage for the impossible task he is calling us to. It is because of this that we are reminded that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and like Paul we preach to ourselves, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
These truths anchor of our souls. They keep us from being blown and tossed by the storms in our lives. They center us on what is important and our focused gaze on who is talking to us will help us ignore the thousands of things around us at every given moment on every given day.
Being reminded that Jesus has a purpose to all of this and that he is calling us to see his plan – to be intimately engaged in his mission – reminds us that the world is not spinning aimlessly into oblivion. He is in control of all things and through Him all things hold together. He was sent to bring a people to himself and he is calling us – inviting us – to the same purpose. He is calling us to be actively involved in his Kingly work.
In calling us to remember that he has already accomplished everything he needs to achieve his stated goals. He reminds us that His work will be accomplished – we need not ever fear that our labor for Him will be the toil that grinds us into the ground. Instead, he promises good fruit for faithful service. Jesus says there is a plentiful harvest. He doesn’t say, “Look guys, if we all work together we just might be able to pull this one off.” No! It’s a sure thing. A sealed deal. We have assurance that the One with the power, might, and authority to do all of this is telling us it has already been secured.
“With my plan and purposes in mind,” he says “therefore…”
“Because I am the God of the Universe,” he says, “therefore…”
“Because I have conquered sin and death,” he says, “therefore…”
“Because I have a people to call to myself from every tongue and tribe and nation,” he says, “therefore…”
“Because I am who I am,” he says, “therefore…”
And here, if we’re listening and paying attention to the One we know and love and trust, we hear what Jesus is saying. He is telling us, “Because I have a beautiful harvest that is ready to be brought into my good and perfect kingdom storehouses of souls that will live forever in My presence and sweet communion with me and all who are mine, and because there will never be enough of you to accomplish that – to bring in all the magnificent, glorious, God-magnifying plentiful bounty I have prepared to reap today and in every age until I return, from here and every group of people on the face of the earth… therefore.
These are unshakable truths. They are not hopeful wishes or sighs of optimistic, positive thinking. They are givens. Absolutes. Unqualified and unconditional. Jesus will accomplish what he has said he will accomplish because he already has done everything needed to accomplish it.
They are because he says they are – and we can trust in them because we trust in Him.