“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” – Matthew 9:35
I have never been involved in agriculture. The closest I have come to harvesting is buying a basil plant at a Safeway because I wanted to experiment with making pesto. Despite the success of the pesto and the satisfaction of my dinner guests, thinking about a harvest doesn’t resonate until I come to know that these cultural references would have made perfect sense to Jesus’ followers.
Relating to our current culture, and all Black Friday debates aside, Jesus could just as well have said today, “The shoppers will be abundant, and we are understaffed; ask the manager to hire out seasonal employees. Come with me into Target.”
There is work to be done. One of my favorite poets, Shake Koyczan, in one of his poems states, “Get up. The ground is your reward.” Ground can be symbolic of that from which sustenance is grown. If that were the case, we are all laborers, but it would seem the ones who identify as laborers are few. The ground is our reward. Every day we have the opportunity to harvest. There is a field full of opportunity and potential to show love, to reveal hope, and to put a smile on a face that hasn’t seen a reason to smile since godlessness became an option.
The amazing thing about a harvest is its cyclical nature. A grain is planted, a plant grows, sustains, and is eventually returned to the earth where a grain is planted again. I refuse to believe in a world where kindness has an end. Like the harvesting process, it is endless; a circle which cannot be broken despite all our efforts to think our thoughts and deeds are somehow ends unto themselves. Living outside of this circle is a death knell, one which does not have to ring.
Jesus invites us to the field. Will we go?