Messianic Learning Feature Articles
Pray for the Harvest Laborers!
(Matthew 9:35-38) "Yahushuah went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest truly [is] plenteous (great), but the laborers (workers) few. Therefore, pray that the Lord (the Master, Adonai) of the harvest will send forth laborers into His harvest."
Did you notice that our Redeemer gave that above underlined command to His "disciples?" They are called "mathetes" in Greek.Thayer's Greek Lexicon says that Bible word is used to describe "learners or pupils". Thus, as good students of Yahushuah's Word (Scripture), Bet Yeshurun Assembly (BYA) will be His disciples and study His command to pray for YAH's harvest workers. (2 Timothy 2:13) "Study to show yourself approved unto God (Elohim), a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth."
After telling His disciples to pray, Yahushuah selected twelve of them to be empowered with extraordinary skills: (Matthew 10:1) When He called to [Him] His twelve disciples, He gave them power [against] unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
After Scripture provides the names of these 12 disciples (that number depicts divine government and authority in scriptural numerics), we read that besides casting out demons, and healing the sick and diseased, Yahushuah gave them very specific directions on where to go and how to serve: (Matthew 10:5-15) These twelve Yahushuah sent forth and commanded them saying, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles. Into [any] city of the Samaritans, enter not! But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, preach saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand!' Heal the sick! Cleanse the lepers! Raise the dead! Cast out devils! Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for [your] journey, neither two coats, shoes, nor yet staves. For the workman is worthy of his meal. Into whatsoever city or town you shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy and there abide until you go. When you come into a house, salute it. If the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the Day of Judgment, than for that city."
Look closely at the disciples' work scope. The Bible teaches many of these are the same acts of Yahushuah (look for 6 in this article's first verse. The disciples also are following the path of an earlier prophet: (Matthew 3:1-2) In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea and saying, "Repent! For, the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For, this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Esaias (Yeshayahu) saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness. Prepare the way of the Lord (Adonai). Make His paths straight!"
Thus Yahushuah instructs disciples to do the work He is doing. (Matthew 4:17) From that time Yahushuah began to preach and say, “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 15:24) But He answered and said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Mark 3:14-15) And He ordained twelve that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils.
Why did Yahushuah send them, rather than give His message directly to the people? Because He compassionately saw that the people (sheep) were short on servants (shepherds) that were properly dedicated to their physical and spiritual care (i.e. the pharisees, sadducees and scribes, who failed on the job). So, He sent His disciples to teach His Heavenly Father's Ways as He could only be in one place at a time, while they could be in many places, simultaneously. (Mark 6:34) When Yahushuah came out, He saw much people and was moved with compassion toward them because they were as sheep not having a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things.
If a shortage of YAH's workers existed then, most certainly we have the same problem today. While America seemingly has a church in every square mile, Yahushuah clealy commands we pray that YAH sends forth more laborers to propogate and promote Elohim's Way of Life for mankind. And, if you happen to be called as one of His workers, then you better focus on the job duties that the boss specifies. (Jeremiah 50:6) "My people are lost sheep. Their shepherds cause them to go astray. They turn them away [on] the mountains. They go from mountain to hill. They forgot their restingplace."
So, who are these workers and what are their jobs? Scripture gives several examples. In Thayer: (1) an "apostle" ("apostolos")is "a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders (from Elohim).” (2) A "prophet" ("prophētēs") is "one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation." (3) An "evangelist" ("euaggelistēs")is "a bringer of good tidings." (4) A "pastor" ("poimēn") is "a herdsman, esp. a shepherd, to whose care and control others commit themselves and whose precepts they follow, metaphorically speaking the presiding officer, manager, director, of any assembly: so of Christ the Head of the church of the overseers of the Christian assemblies.” (5) A "teacher" ("didaskalos")is "one who teaches concerning the things of God and the duties of man."
This is a very good list of YAH's Harvest workers for BYA's prayer board: (Ephesians 4:11-13) “He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists and some pastors (shepherds) and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Messiah until we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of El, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah.”
Let's consider YAH's laborers from another perspective. Many planted or sowed seeds in gardens. Now we are tending that garden. For example, we water when needed, thin our crops as necessary, keep the weeds from overwhelming our plants. These tasks are different from a garden's sowing and reaping steps. Similarly, YAH's harvest workers are those nurturing His Body. Don't confuse these workers with those who serve as His reapers: (Matthew 13:39) "The harvest is the end of the world and the reapers are the angels."
Thus, YAH's servants labor upstream of the harvest reaping. In other words, they are involved with encouraging the growth and development of Yah's seeds and plantings. Paul gives us a good example: (1 Corinthians 3:5-9) Who then is Paul, and who [is] Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord (Adonai Yahushuah) gave to every man? I planted. Apollos watered. But Elohim gave the increase. So then neither is he who plants anything, nor he who waters. But Elohim gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one. And every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are laborers together with Elohim. You are Elohim's husbandry, Elohim's building."
But how do we know YAH's worker from those who represent Satan? We know them by the fruits of their labor. Are their works of Elohim, or unrighteous ones? Of course, BYA's best example is our Redeemer and King Yahushuah, who lived according to all His Heavenly Father's commands. (John 7:16-17) "My doctrine is not mine, but His who sent me. If any man will do His Will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of Elohim, or [whetherI speak of Myself."
So, please reread that first verse of this article. Thayer explains what a good worker does: (1) teach in synagogoues ("instruct people about Yah's Will and Way in the places where His people gather"); (2) preach the gospel of the Kingdom ("proclaim openly the good news of salvation through Yahushuah and His royal power, kingship, dominion and rule");and(3) heal every sickness and disease ('restore to health those who suffer from physical, emotional, mental and spiritual infirmities, debilities or weakness") (Matthew 4:23-25) Yahushuah went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. His fame went throughout all Syria. They brought to Him all sick people who were taken with divers diseases and torments, those who were possessed with devils, those who were lunatick, and those who had the palsy; and He healed them.
Make no mistake, this won't be easy work. Like farming is a dirty, sweaty job, so can be the preaching of the good news of YAH's Kingdom and the taking care of sick people. Yahushuah even warned His Disciples they might not be well received. (Luke 9:5-6) “Whosoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.”
If the words of Yah you live and share aren't received well, move on. Perhaps others will receive you better later: (Acts 18:4-6) He reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath and persuaded the Yahudim and Greeks. When Silas and Timotheus came from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit and testified to the Yahudim [that] Yahushuah [was] the Messiah. When they opposed themselves and blasphemed, he shook [his] raiment and said to them, “Your blood [be] upon your own heads; I [am] clean: from henceforth I will go to the Gentiles (many nations).”
Here's another good analogy of YAH's workers from a farming perspective: (1 Corinthians 9:9-18) “For it is written in the law of Moses, 'You shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treads out the corn.' Does Elohim take care for oxen? Or, says He [it] altogether for our sake? For our sake, no doubt! This is written that he who plows should plow in hope; and that he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we sow unto you spiritual things, [is it] a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of [this] power over you, [are] not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Messiah. Do you not know that they who minister about holy things live [of the things] of the temple and they who wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so Adonai ordained that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things. Nor have I written these things that it should be so done unto me. For [it were] better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of. For necessity is laid upon me. Yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward. But if against my will, a dispensation [of the gospel] is committed unto me. What is my reward then? [Verily] that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Messiah without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.”
So, BYA can pray that Yah's laborers be encouraged to persevere in their mission and kick the dust off their shoes (pictures completely disassociating from unbelievers) like these these 1st century AD workers: (Acts 13:47-52) "For so has Adonai (Yahushuah) commanded us, [saying], 'I have set you to be a light of the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.' When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of Adonai and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. The Word of Adonai was published throughout all the region. But the Yahudim stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them and came to Iconium. The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost (Ruach ha'Qodesh)."
What happens if YAH's laborers don't do their jobs? Please reread the second verse of this article which says that people faint (grow tired, lose energy, keel over) or they scatter about (lost, wandering about, listening to orher mighty ones like false ministers, corrupt politicians, or entertainment thieves). Pray this not be so. Instead ask YAH to send His representatives: (Numbers 27:15-17) Moses spoke to YAHUAH saying, "Let YAHUAH , the Elohim of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, who may go out before them, who may go in before them, who may lead them out, and who may bring them in that the congregation of YAHUAH be not as sheep who have no shepherd."
Look at what happens amongst obedient servants of YAH: (Luke 8:1-3) It came to pass afterward, that He went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of Elohim. The twelve [were] with Him and certain women, who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, Susanna and many others, who ministered unto Him of their substance.
Teaching, preaching and healing is an ancient labor of YAH's priests and kings: (Ezekiel 34:1-6) The Word of YAHUAH came to me saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says Sovereign YAHUAH to the shepherds: Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and you clothe yourself with the wool. You kill them who are fed. You feed not the flock. The diseased you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who are sick, nor have you bound up [that which was] broken, nor have you brought again that which was driven away, nor have ye sought that which was lost. But with force and with cruelty have you ruled them. And they were scattered, because [there is] no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek [after them]."
BYA can also pray that YAH's Harvest workers serve as the 70 appointed of Yahushuah to bring a message of love and peace, before His arrival: (Luke 10:3-11) "Go your ways! Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes. Salute no man by the way. Into whatsoever house you enter, first say, Peace [be] to this house. If the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. In the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. Into whatsoever city you enter and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. Heal the sick that are therein and say to them, 'The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.' But into whatsoever city you enter and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, 'Even the very dust of your city, which cleaves on us, we do wipe off against you. Notwithstanding be sure of this, that the kingdom of Elohim is come nigh unto you.'"
So, if you accept a laborer's position for YAH, it's time to get to work. And, if you count the cost of such service and decline to accept that job, you still have a very important role: praying for YAH's Harvest Laborers as Yahushuah commands. Encourage YAH to be compassionate upon His people, move His heart to pity and to send His workers into the world. Intercede for those who proclaim the Kingdom of Elohim. The time for nurturing YAH's harvest grows short: (John 4:34-38) Yahushuah says to them (His disciples and BYA), “My meat is to do the Will of Him who sent me and to finish His work. Say not you, 'There are yet four moons (months), and [then] comes harvest?' Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields for they are white already to harvest. He who reaps receives wages and gathers fruit unto life eternal that both he that sows and He who reaps may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, 'One sows, and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that whereon you bestowed no labor. Other men labored, and you are entered into their labors.”
This article is the first of a two-part series about Yahushuah’s instructions in sending out His disciples. His second set of commands is very pertinent to us living in this age. (Luke 22:35-36) And He said to them, "When I sent you without purse, scrip and shoes, lacked you any thing?" They said, "Nothing!" Then He said to them, "But now, he who has a purse, let him take [it], and likewise [his] scrip. And he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one."
It's also important to know that those who choose not to be a laborer can still help the cause of YAH's laborers by becoming good examples of fruitful wheat rather than bothersome tares, or becoming obedient sheep apt to follow rather than be hard headed goats that are apt to stray …
Many thanks YAHUAH Elohim for sending your workers to BYA. Please hear our cries for more, and not just for us but for all the desparately needed people of this world who don't know you. And, may we be among those harvest workers if it be your Will, so that all may learn of your great mercy and grace for all through our service to your beloved Son, Yahushuah. Shalom, Elder Curt
Thoughts for Meditation
“When you need to make a decision, don't let your emotions vote.” JoyceMeyers
“Forgiveness doesn't diminish justice; it just entrusts it to God.” Max Lucado
“We can go to church and pray for God to make things better, or we can pray for Him to give us the strength to make a difference.” Dave Wolbert