Raise your hand if the word labor seems like fun to you! No? Ok, how about rewarding? Fulfilling? Life-changing? Exciting? Can I convince you that it’s all of those things?
[ In March I headed south with a friend to the Lifeway Women’s Abundance Event, where I heard about She Reads Truth for the first time. Ever since, I’ve been utilizing it on my phone and on the web, currently going through their Bible in a Year plan. I’m crazy bad at following these things and I started about 2.5 months late, BUT whether it’s the app or my determination to catch up, I’m close. ]
I’m about 25% through my She Reads Truth- Bible in a Year reading plan and came across Jesus’s words in Mark 9.
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. // Mark 9:35-38
Ok, it’s only a few verses but there is SO much in there that caught my attention. Jesus had compassion for them for they were like sheep without a shepherd. I’m reminded of how Nehemiah had compassion in his heart for the people he didn’t even know because they were living in ruins with no leader. Ocean county is full of people with no shepherd, no leader, no Jesus. Do we have compassion for these people?
Compassion for others will drive us to take action. If we say, yes we are compassionate, do our works show it? The harvest is plentiful. Are we laborers in it or are we letting the harvest wither and die? Are we driven by compassion?
The example we see Jesus set is to reach others through both proclaiming the good news but also through meeting their needs. Being a laborer in any capacity is hard work, it’s labor, it’s not recreation. However, can you see the exciting and fun part? One of the ways Jesus met the needs of the people was through healing. The way we can meet the needs of the people in our lives may be very different, BUT, either way, when someone’s needs are met, change happens. Can you imagine spending your time surrounded by people who were joyful because their life circumstance just drastically changed? That sounds pretty amazing. When I see people who are now happy and full of hope because of a small act someone did for them or because of a conversation someone had with them; that’s fulfilling, that’s exciting, that’s life-changing.
Labor doesn’t have to be a cringe-worthy word because the outcome of laboring for the Lord’s harvest is always new life. It’s a beautiful word. It’s a word full of purpose. Labor can be fun!
Jesus told his disciples to pray for laborers to rise up and be sent out. I challenge us to pray the same way this week. Pray that God would raise up His people to go out, declare the name of Jesus, and connect with those who don’t yet know Him. Pray that He might use us in our own individual ways to do the same. I pray that when we read this verse we can say with boldness, “Yes Lord, I am one of your laborers.” God didn’t wait for perfect, educated, ‘have-it-all-together’ people to be his laborers. He called ordinary people, just like you and me, to bring life-change into villages, then cities, then regions, then nations. A small start can have a big impact.
How has laboring for the Lord brought joy into your life? Comment below…