St John's Lutheran Church, La Grange IL 60525 (LCMS)

St. John's Lutheran Church and School
47th Street and Brainard Avenue, La Grange, Illinois 60525

 
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Harvest Time
June 26, 2011

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
  --
Matthew 9:35

This is the season for harvest. In the heartland of America massive combines are running through wheat fields gathering in the harvest. As someone who grew up in the city, I never fully appreciated harvest time or Jesus’ words about harvest until I moved to Oklahoma. Sandi and I arrived in Oklahoma in April of 1990. In less than 6 weeks, our community was engrossed in the harvest—and our lives were changed.

“Community” is the key word here. When the harvest comes, it’s not just the farmer who goes to work. All hands are called upon to help. Everyone is needed to support the operation to bring in the wheat as fast as possible. Even green, city-folk like Sandi and I were enlisted. Harvests vary, but our little town of 500 people brought in a typical harvest of over 2 million bushels in about 10 days (and that coming from lands of low yields compared to more fertile and watered states to the north).

Modern machinery may cover large swaths of ground, but there are dozens of people in trucks, elevators, mechanics and supply efforts to support the running of that equipment. With harvest, everything can change in an instant. One day the crop isn’t ready and would spoil in storage; the next it’s white and a wind could blow the grain to the ground if you don’t cut it there fast enough. When harvest comes the race is on to get the crop in before a summer storm sweeps it away.

Working the Oklahoma Harvests changed my whole picture of Jesus’ words about his harvest. His words ring true in 21st century farming as they did in the first. The problem isn’t the scarcity of the crop; it’s the scarcity of workers. All too often, we lament the apathy and lack of faith in our communities today. Jesus, however, tells us that the fields are, “white unto harvest” (John 4:35). Sometimes we’re looking at fields that are green and would spoil at a premature grab; but, somewhere it is guaranteed, (not far from us, perhaps in a place we least expect) the Holy Spirit is ripening faith in someone that’s just going to fall into our hands. Are we ready to be sent where his harvest is falling?

All too often the church reads Jesus’ call for workers as a call for pastors. Indeed they are important workers; but when it comes to harvest everyone is enlisted to serve the community effort. That’s what Jesus is talking about as he says, “ask the Lord… to send out workers!” To our surprise when we ask God for workers, he turns back to us and says, “how about you?”

I didn’t know beans about farming, but I was enlisted to serve in our harvests. It was an honor to do the smallest thing to take part in this grand operation. Whether I drove a truck or helped in menial tasks, I took the lead from the farmers who told me what to do. The same is true when it comes to the harvest of souls. It is not about how much you know about the Bible or how well you can speak or pray that makes the difference. The truth is that the Holy Spirit already has a harvest ready to fall into your hands and he will guide you in everything you need to do, if we’re willing to trust him and follow his lead.

This weekend, St. John’s missionary, Lori Wilbert, joins us in worship returning from one of the most unlikely and hard to reach fields of harvest—Stateville Prison. Her story is inspiring. It’s also our story as we provide support to her ministry behind the walls. We might be tempted to say, “I can’t go there,” but through your support for Lori you are a part of the team. We might be tempted to see the harvest limited to places behind our reach like Stateville, but just as we support Lori going where God has called her, so each of us has a field we are sent to harvest as well. Ask the Lord of the Harvest… and I know he will send you too!

 

 

(c)2011 St. John's Lutheran Church and School | 505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525 www.sjlagrange.com
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Pastor's Blogs

Bill Geis has led a variety of missional ministries for over 20 years. He has served as senior pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in La Grange, Illinois since 2004. He is the proud father of teenage daughters, Erica and Monica. His partner in ministry and in marriage, Sandi Geis, serves with him on the team at St. John's as prayer ministry leader, devotional writer and music teacher. He has a passion and calling to rally Christian communities and disciples to help people Meet Jesus in authentic and life changing ways.

 
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