Working for the Harvest Lord

Daily Devotion|Day 260

“Then He [Jesus] said to them, ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2).

In Luke 9:1-6, Jesus sent the 12 Apostles on a mission to preach the kingdom of God. Then, in the following chapter (Luke 10), He sent out 72 others with a similar mission. Today’s opening passage marks the beginning of Jesus’ instructions for the 72 disciples.

Jesus starts by making an observation, followed by a request. He declares that the harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few. The harvest here refers to the work of reaching people with the Good News of salvation, and bringing them into the kingdom of God. Harvest time is a time when farmers gather the fruit of the land. According to Jesus, there exists a great number of people who must be gathered for the Lord. Remember, He said this two-thousand years ago. We don’t know what He will say today.

In the second part of His observation, Jesus notes, “the laborers are few.” This means there is no shortage of work, but there is shortage of workers. Jesus did not give us the exact size of the work and the number of workers at the time. However, being the Son of God, He knows what He saw. The Father’s business was important to Jesus (Luke 2:49), so He cared about bringing it to completion (John 4:34). However, the harvest work is a team work. Jesus has His part, and we have ours.

In response to the shortage, Jesus says to us, “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Jesus calls His Father, the Lord of the harvest. Firstly, this means it is God who decides who (and how many) to hire in the harvest of souls.  He decides where and when He needs your services. We can’t force it. The only thing we can do is what Jesus has told us: pray that the Father will send people.

Secondly, we should know our place in the work of salvation. God is in charge of who gets saved, and when; not us. This requires a spirit of submission and discernment on our part. God has a time and place for everyone’s salvation. We should not force,  push, manipulate, insist or pressure people to accept Jesus. Our job is simple. We are messengers. We deliver the message, and we allow God to determine the outcome at a time and place of His choosingWe are laborers, not owners of ‘Salvation, Inc.’

Pray today for all who are preaching the kingdom of God. Pray also that the Father will send more dedicated workers into His field.

BlessingMay the Lord cause grace, peace and joy to abound in your household. Amen.

For further study: 1 Timothy 3:1-13

Sow in the Spirit, Reap Life

Daily Devotion | Day 246

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . .” (Galatians 5:22-23, NKJV).

In today’s passage, Paul lists nine different (but related) things and calls them the fruit of the Spirit.” The complete list: is, lovejoy, peacelongsufferingkindnessgoodnessfaithfulnessgentleness, and self-control.

Here, Paul makes use of a familiar agricultural image to instruct Christians about the nature of life in the Spirit. Typically, a farmer cultivates the soil, sows and waits for harvest. At harvest time, the farmer moves in to reap the fruit (the produce) of the field.

The word “produce” or “fruit” is a collective term which may refer to a variety of crops on the same land. On a particular field (for example, a garden) a farmer may grow corn, cabbage, tomatoes, pepper, etc. This is the analogy Paul is using when he speaks of the fruit of the Spirit. Assume, therefore, that the Spirit is the land; and love, peace, joy, etc. are the different produce growing on the land.

Later, in Galatians 6:7-9, Paul reinforces the sowing-reaping analogy when he writes,

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reapFor he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

As you can see, sowing precedes harvesting. Furthermore, what you sow is what you reap. Paul speaks of fruit of the Spirit. What he means is, when you sow to the soil of the Spirit, you will naturally harvest the fruit of love, peace, joy, etc. These manifestations are evidence that you are authentically walking in the Spirit, i.e. you are submitted to the leading of the Spirit.

Alternatively, you have the option of sowing in the soil of the flesh, i.e. a life contrary to the ways of God. But, be advised that this option leads to everlasting death or “corruption,” as Paul has noted (see Galatians 5:19-21). 

The only path that leads to life is the path of the Spirit. Sowing in the Spirit is simple. It essentially means walking in obedience to God’s Word. If you are doing that, you are sowing in the Spirit. The natural result is, you will manifest the following fruit (all, not some of it): love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Don’t sow anything you don’t want to reap.

Choose wisely. Invest wisely. Sow in the Spirit, and the harvest of life shall follow.

BlessingMay the Lord bless you and prosper you in all your ways. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Romans 8:1-17

God Provides in a Time of Obedience and Trust

Daily Devotional: Day 133

“And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?” Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest” (Leviticus 25:20-22, NKJV).

In Leviticus chapter 25, God commanded the people of Israel to keep a sabbath for the land they were about to occupy (Canaan). They could sow and reap for six years, but the seventh year was to be a year of rest for the land. During the seventh year, they were prohibited from all farming activities on the land. This commandment was to be observed – as in a cycle – every seven years, for as long as they remained on the land.

Obviously, this commandment presented its own opportunities and challenges. On one hand, it afforded them the opportunity to rest; but on the other hand, they were left with the obvious question: “What shall we eat during the seventh year?” What God was asking them to do required radical trust and obedience. Recall that once every week, on the sabbath day, they did no work. It is one thing not to work once a week; but no farming for an entire year was a completely different story. This brings us to today’s Bible text.

God allayed the fears of the people with the following promise: “I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years.” This blessing ensured that the Israelites had food provision for the sixth year, the seventh year, and the eighth year. What we can learn here is that God is not limited in His ability to bless you. Oftentimes obedience to God requires a sacrifice. Not sowing or reaping, for the Israelites, was a huge sacrifice. But today’s Bible reading assures us that when you do what God requires of you, He will not leave you without provision. Our God is a dependable provider. Dare to trust Him.

May the God of Israel command His blessing upon you and your family today! Amen.

For further study: Genesis 22:1-18

The Proof Is in the Fruit

Daily Devotional: Day 123

I [Jesus] am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NKJV).

Bearing good fruit is not optional for Christians. If there is a discrepancy between your life and the life of Jesus, there is one of two conclusions: either Christ is not in you, or you are not plugged in to Jesus. Jesus says He is the Vine, and we are the branches. This means Jesus’ job is not to bear fruit. His job is to fill us with His life; our job is to show – by our fruit – that Jesus’ life is in us. Tree, branch and fruit must, therefore, agree. If there is a mismatch between the Tree, the branch and the fruit, either Jesus is not a True Vine or we are not true branches of the Vine.

It is impossible to have a True Vine and its branch mutually connected, but producing no vine fruit.

The fruit Jesus is speaking about refers to the fruit of repentance and godly behavior (cf. Matthew 3:7-8Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus is Holy and Righteous. If you are connected to Him, it means His holiness is running through you. Logically, you can’t help but produce holy fruit and display His righteous character. If you are producing fruit of sin and unrighteousness, you are connected to something other than Jesus.

According to Jesus, how can you tell that someone is abiding in Him? Answer: By the person’s fruit. Jesus says, “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Notice carefully two key ideas in Jesus’ statement. First, He says there is a mutual abiding. That is, Jesus abides in you and you abide in Him. This creates a supernatural union between you and Jesus. The inevitable outcome of this union is that you will bear much fruit.

Second, notice Jesus doesn’t just say that you will bear fruit. He specifically says you will bear much fruit. Much fruit and fruit look similar, but they are not the same thing. Jesus is a Man of precise words. He doesn’t say you will bear a little fruit or occasional fruit. He gives you the guarantee that, if you abide in Him, it is impossible not to bear much fruit. If, for example, you have been a Christian for about a year or more, and you are not bearing much fruit, don’t look far for an explanation. Jesus has already given you the explanation: You are not abiding in Him. When Jesus talks about abiding in Him, He means keeping His commandments (cf. John 15:9-10).

Not abiding in Jesus is another way of saying Jesus is not your Master, and therefore, you are most likely not born again. If this describes you, now may be the opportune time to turn from your sins, ask Jesus for forgiveness, and abide in Him always; because as Jesus says, “without Me you can do nothing.” He means it; without Him, you can do nothing. But with Him, you can do all things that God wants you to do, including bearing much fruit of holiness. Abide in Jesus.

The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today. Amen.

Pray to the Father about this message that has come to you.

For further study: Colossians 3:1-17

Speak Right, Reap Right

Daily Devotional: Day 34

“From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:20-21, RSV).

Once again, the Bible unveils heavenly truths for our edification.  A lot can be said about today’s passage, but for now, let’s focus on just one aspect, i.e. consistency in our words. The Bible says that we shall be satisfied by the fruit of our mouth and the yield of our lips. This means God has put in your mouth the ability to produce fruit that will bring you satisfaction. As the earth yields crops of different kinds, so your mouth can yield or produce a harvest of good things for your satisfaction. Note that when the Bible speaks of fruit, it presupposes the existence of seeds. The Bible further declares that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Whose tongue? Yours and mine. With your tongue you can speak life, and with the same tongue you can speak death. See how much power the Lord has given to your words! This is profound divine truth. If you need to pause and ponder over it before you continue, do so.

When you speak, you’re planting seeds that will return to you with a harvest. You see, every seed produces fruit of its kind. Our God is a God of law and divine principles. So, if you sow apple seeds, for example, expect to reap apple fruit. It’s the same with your words. They carry weight. An important part of using your tongue to your advantage, as the Father intended, is to be consistent. This means, your words must not fluctuate between speaking doubt and faith, deception and truth, or fear and boldness. It’s important that you consistently speak faith, blessings and truth. Train yourself to mean what you say, and to say what you mean. If you have a habit of saying things you don’t mean or of deceiving, you’ll confuse your own spirit. Some people speak faith when it suits them, and other times, they’ll conveniently speak doubt and fear and all kinds of negative things which corrupt the power and efficacy of their words. Learn from Jesus. He was consistent in his words, always speaking truth and consistently confessing faith in his Father. God respects consistency. Speak right, and reap right.

Pray:

Daddy, thank you for giving my words power to yield fruit for my satisfaction. Your love for me amazes me. Teach me to be consistent in my speech. Let faith and truth proceed from my mouth. And as I sow the right seeds, grant me a harvest of healing, deliverance, provision, peace and fullness of joy. Thank you for hearing me. In the Name of Jesus. Amen. 

For further study: Matthew 12:33-37