Harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few; say not it is four months, behold the fields are ripe, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth (kick) men into the field
The above words of Jesus capture the essence and urgency of missions. When Mathew 9:37 is juxtaposed with John 4:35 and Luke 10:2, we see clearly the need for missions and the challenges thereof – the scarcity of humans, provision and material resources, the danger of procrastination, and the why of prayer.
The background to the call for missions is the ripeness of the fields exemplified by the teeming masses of human beings, “fainted”, scattered without a sense of direction as there are no leaders. Using Africa as a case study, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, we see masses of people living in want of food, shelter, clothing, and water. We see multitudes being ravaged by disease, war, and drought, and most importantly, without spiritual and political guidance.
This neglected crowd is in dire need of direction in the field fully ripe for harvest. The most or worrisome development is not the scarcity of labour but rather, the ignorance of the true state of needs and affairs. When knowledge comes, the burden is developed. Burden produces volunteerism and subsequently, labourers. It is quite unfortunate that most Christians, particularly in Nigeria have no information about the state of the church beyond their immediate environment. Is it any reason why there are no labourers?
Also worrisome is the perennial attitude of procrastination. The few that have information do not consider the matter very urgent, hence the delay in launching out. Many do not follow the trend of events in the world as to understand the nearness of the coming of the Master and the danger that lies ahead for this mass of people under the bondage of Satan in every ramification. Sadly, we engage ourselves stupendously in frivolous and white elephant projects with intolerable ostentation to the utter neglect of weightier matters of bringing light to the dark places of the world.
Jesus said in John 4:35 “say not it is four months to the harvest”. That means do not postpone or procrastinate but see the urgency of the work. In all these, the role of prayer is to soften the ground for harvesting. Without the ground being softened, no labourer would succeed in the dark places of poverty, wickedness, debauchery, sorcery, and occultism. Prayer will also bring a refocusing and reassessment of the priorities in the church.
One zealous missionary substituted the verb “send” in Luke 10:2 with “kick.” He said, “… pray to the Lord of the harvest to kick men into the field.” The difference between sending and kicking is the difference between persuasion and compulsion. A man kicked has no choice, but to land where the force of the kick propels him. On the other hand, a man sent has the liberty to choose his speed. Kicking, of course, may mean the compulsion to missions through sickness, loss of business, or even death (Amos 4:6-12). The danger of being kicked into missions is the possibility of sustaining needless bruises and injuries.
While we may not ask the Lord to kick men into missions, though He reluctantly does so in certain instances as in the case of Saul (Acts 9:1-31 ), it is important to observe that the urgency of the work and the constant foot-dragging of men call for a reconsideration of the mode of recruitment for missions. Though He loves partnering with people who willingly offer themselves (2 Cor 9:7), there are those who definitely would need kicking to get involved in missions.
The Africa Vision Tract House Society operates as both an agency and an agent to enlighten the people on the state of the church in Africa as well as lead in the onslaught against poverty, disease, and ignorance. She not only mobilizes personnel and material but also actively engages in and executes the harvest. For the past 16 years, she has mobilized men and material traversing the length and breadth of not only Nigeria but also other African countries doing the good work of the Lord through free social, educational, and medical missions.
All these efforts seem like a drop of water in an ocean as she is saddled with fresh Macedonian calls every day. More pitiable and frustrating is the thought of leaving behind several needy people who cannot access free available help due to the lack of labourers on mission fields. Wearied by excess work because of the lack of adequate hands and discouraged by not being able to attend to all needy patients, the joy of the volunteers is usually curtailed. There is, indeed, the need for more labourers. As a Christian, are you going or sending volunteers on missions? Are you funding or praying for those on missions? This is the time to be identified with missions – the very heartbeat of God. Stand up and be counted today for tomorrow may be too late. The clock to eternity is ticking fast. Brace up to bring salvation to the unsaved at all cost. Do not allow the Lord to require anybody’s blood at your hand (Ezek 3:18, 20). He might equally choose to kick you, like Prophet Jonah, into His vineyard reserved for you. Partner with the Africa Vision Tract House Society to discharge this obligation, you will be happy you did. May the Lord not “kick” you rather may He send you into missions.