Some years ago a friend of mine invited us as a family to come and spend some time on holiday at his villa in Spain. I was delighted to accept, but this turned out to be a far cry from a little apartment on the beach. When we got there we found we were inland, farming country, and the place we stayed was full of olive trees.
It also happened to be harvest time. We ended up getting involved, using hand held machines to shake the branches to catch the olives in nets, which were then sorted by various local people hired in to help sort them before I went with him to have truckloads weighed and bought. I worked up a sweat, but it was a great adventure and memory.
Others had done the hard work, we were there to reap! This was a window of opportunity to gather in the crop. Eddie told me, ‘The size of the harvest is all about how many workers you have out in the fields.’
I thought, ‘That’ll preach!’
The Message version of Luke 10:2 renders Jesus’ charge to the disciples he sent out, “What a huge harvest! And how few the harvest hands. So on your knees; ask the God of the Harvest to send harvest hands.”
The Lord tells us disciples, ‘The fields are white unto harvest’– people are more ready than we realise. Their receptivity is still not the problem, but our reluctance. Even today, where you live, it’s not hard to find people looking for hope is it?
At the recent Global Gathering of NewThing, I suggested that we take an idea from my friends in the NoPlaceLeftmovement and set an alarm for 10:02 every day, and when it sounds we stop and pray for more workers to go into the harvest.
Specifically in NewThing, we are going to remember to pray for more Residents– our term to describe potential church planters we are formally apprenticing in our churches.
The great news is Jesus told us what to pray for, and when God tells you what to pray for you’re guaranteed of answers – so we can pray this boldly!
When Emma Jeffery returned from the global gathering she told her husband Ben with whom she planted the fantastic Soul City church which gathers in a Stockport cinema they decided to pray like this. They set the alarm on their devices and prayed specifically. Within one week they were approached by someone who said, “I don’t suppose at your church you have anything where I could come and serve and learn how to plant a church too?” Soul City’s first leadership resident starts in September. It’s harvest time!