We have often heard the motivating words of Jesus: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Indeed, the field is ready for the harvest, and the Lord of the harvest wants you and me (everyone of us) out in the field. God wants us to take hold of the countless opportunities and challenges around us to bring Glory to the Lord of the harvest.
But, the church sometimes taken a lazy approach to reaching out to those who are searching for the deeper meaning of faith. There is an old story of a farmer who said lightning struck an old shed and saved him the trouble of tearing it down. Then it rained and saved him the chore of washing off his car too. When someone asked him what he was doing now, he replied, “I’m waiting for an earthquake to shake the potatoes out of the ground.” Unlike the farmer, the Church of Jesus Christ cannot afford to wait for an earthquake to shake the unchurched out of their hiding places and into the church.
We tend to associate evangelism mainly with the work of missionaries overseas. When I was younger I had this image in my mind of white North American missionaries bringing the Gospel to monkey-eating natives in the African jungle. Lately, I have come to see outreach more as talking to my neighbor across the fence, whose wife of many years passed away last spring.
Jesus has sent us out as His disciples among the people we meet in our daily lives. Although we do not always know where our journey with Christ will lead us, he gives us the gifts we need for the tasks ahead and enables us to be part of a great adventure – namely the coming of God’s kingdom. You and I, as disciples of Jesus Christ, are part of the mission to share the Good News of God’s Kingdom with others. We are privileged to be part of God’s way of turning the whole world upside down!
Someone said the following about taking risks: To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out to another is to risk involvement. To expose feelings is to risk exposing our true self. To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd is to risk loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair. To try at all is to risk failure. But to risk we must, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The man, the woman, who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
As we strive to live as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, may we confess before God the greatest barrier that hinders our witness – namely apathy, that is, the lazy attitude of the farmer waiting for an earthquake. And may we be motivated by the passion and the sense of urgency that Jesus had for your and my salvation.