by Cindy Stiverson
I remember terror gripping my heart when mother announced she was going to work in our family garden. It was time to run and hide…or face the likelihood of being drafted to help. I hated the heat, dirt, and sweat. It seemed she always chose the hottest time of day and muggiest day of the week to ask for my help. She referred to my weeding method as “plopping yourself down on your butt right in the middle of the garden!”
As I envision my mother in her garden, I remember her contentment. It didn’t seem like work to her. She knew the tomatoes and sweet corn would not taste nearly as good without the toil in the soil. Working alongside my mother, I learned to appreciate the process. I learned that reaping a harvest is a great accomplishment.
That‘s what Matthew is describing in this passage: hard work produces a bountiful harvest. But the problem: finding enough workers.
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field (Matt 9:35-38NIV)."
When my mom called me to the garden, it was a lesson in communion and commission. The Greek word for communion means "fellowship, participating, and sharing." She was teaching me, asking me to share, participate in her love of gardening. She was also commissioning me to grow up, to go and produce my own harvest.
When Jesus calls us to be His followers, He is asking us to commune with Him. Prayer, journaling, reading God's word, and worship are ways in which we fellowship with Him. These are teaching moments in which He shares His love and concern for us and for others.
Then He commissions us to go beyond just learning about His love. To grow, we have to go and do what Jesus did. He gives us Holy Spirit authority and power to produce a harvest of love: the salvation of souls from an eternal life of death and damnation to an eternal life of love and glory.
My perspective of gardening has changed over the years. I look forward to spring when I can toil in the soil like my mother did. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty: planting, weeding, and watering. As I mature, it’s not just the harvest that motivates me. I enjoy the process, the communion and commission of following in my mother’s footsteps.
It’s the same with my spiritual life. As I mature spiritually, I just want to dig in and toil in the soil of life. The Lord of the Harvest multiplies my efforts. Together, we heal and transform hearts, reaping a harvest of love. I want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. There is no better life than this!
We are surrounded by people who are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd...Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field."
This song, "I Wanna Live Like That" by Sidewalk Prophets, really captures the heart of my message today. Please listen, and use this to commune with God and to renew your commitment to the commission of Christ. I'm praying for you, that your light will truly shine for Jesus!
I am your hostess and founder of Woven. In 1998, God gave me a vision for Woven: Women of Virtue Network. It's a blessing to be involved in so many women's lives. Sometimes I think my heart will burst.
I am a speaker, writer, artist and an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. I lead the women at NewarkNaz in Newark, Ohio.
So very thankful for my hubby Mark. Extremely proud of my daughter speaker/author Nicole and son-in-law Matthew Bromley. Love my grandsons Jude and Isaac beyond measure.
Loving God with all my heart, soul, strength; and loving and leading others to do the same is the greatest joy of my life.
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