And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “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.”Matthew 9:35-38
This is a pretty well-known saying from Jesus. It talks about something that maybe you can relate with, a whole lot of work. This passage and the chapter before it talks about the amount of work that Jesus and the disciples had to do. If you have read any of the Gospels, then you know that Jesus and his disciples did a lot in their three years together.
Jesus and his disciples walked all over the place. From city to city they walked and did ministry. When they got to a town, they would start doing work. The writers always record one or two particular healings and then proceed to say, “They healed everyone of diseases and cast out all demons.” They did so much work in these towns that they couldn’t write it all down. In John 21:25 he writes, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” This is a whole lot of work, and in this passage, Jesus assures us of more work to be done.
There are times working in the youth ministry when the work is easy and fun. It seems like everything is clicking and all the pieces are falling into place. This is when the work feels like no sweat. Then there are times when the work is hard and slow going. It feels like the students aren’t getting it and are even losing the ground we have made. Maybe you have felt like this in your own personal life, in your ministry, or even in your day-to-day relationships with the people around you, or maybe just in your own walk with the Lord. It can feel like the work in front of you is too overwhelming, and that the work behind you was in vain.
First of all, you aren’t alone in feeling like your labor isn’t working out. Secondly, God promises to be with us during the time when the labor is tough. He doesn’t say He will take it all away from you, but he does promise to stand and work right alongside with you.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for you soul. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30
To be yoked with Christ is for him to share the workload with you.
We can align ourselves with the powerful Christ who wants to see his harvest brought in. He doesn’t want a single piece of his harvest lost. He wants it all in so bad that he is willing to get down in the field and work with us. If you feel like you are laboring in vain, take heart! Yoke yourself to the Christ and the work will be accomplished.
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