Labouring: a Worthy Inconvenience

Jesus prayingBy Allan Mitchell 

It is exhilarating to hear about someone discovering faith in Jesus Christ. Luke 15:10 tells us that “…there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Likewise, all believers share in this joy. However, in the elation of celebration, do we consider the perseverance and prayer of the few who laboured for months, or perhaps years, to ensure a fruitful harvest?

Recently, while reaching out to someone from the inner city, I discovered that initiating and sustaining relationship for the purpose of evangelism takes peril, prayer, patience, and perseverance. Somewhere in the psyche of my mind, I assumed I could keep this relationship at a safe distance – and not allow the reality of the person’s unfortunate circumstances (poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and health) to affect me. Through purposeful and intentional interaction, I discovered that volunteering to be a labourer in the Lord’s vineyard is easy, but it takes self-denial, blood, sweat, and tears to see the work through to fruition.

Also, I realized that labouring, in a spiritual context, is mutually transforming. The faithful labourer, through patience and perseverance, nurtures the soil to bring forth the ultimate harvest; concurrently, in the process, the labourer harvests character development, patience, perseverance, and assurance of the fruitful harvest to come. For the faithful Christ-follower, scripture reiterates that labouring, although compulsory, selfless, and inconvenient, is an exciting, fulfilling faith adventure necessary for us to be “conformed to the image of his Son.” 

The world is watching us. Do we reflect the character of our risen Saviour? The world is crying out for a saviour, yet many believers seem to reflect a scriptural contradiction. Why does it seem like we have resigned ourselves to attending salvation parties – bathing ourselves in the perfume of harvest testimonies and baptisms, but regrettably, we leave the labouring in the fields to other, more faithful brothers and sisters? It is true…we should rejoice always for those who come to Christ; however, Jesus calls every brother and sister to labour in the fields, sow the seed, till the soil, tend the ground, nurture with water, and then in due season, the harvest comes.

In the end, at the appointed time of harvest, there is great satisfaction and pleasure among those who tend the world’s vineyards. They invite their neighbours and friends who watched them toil faithfully through the hardships and discomforts of labouring to celebrate and commemorate a fruitful harvest. However, in terms of celebration, the elation of the onlookers is temporal, but the celebration or joy of the labourers is a crown of rejoicing that transcends the momentary temporal to the everlasting eternal.

May the Holy Spirit revive us from our spiritual stupor; may He breathe urgency into our hearts; may He convict us to persevere with patience, passion, and purpose – time is short, the harvest fields are many, yet the labourers are few. In John 4:35, Jesus implores, “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” May an awakening among believers help us recognize that labouring is a worthy inconvenience – compelling us into the Lord’s fields to faithfully labour for a bountiful, eternal harvest.

2011-03-26T10:51:17+00:00March 26th, 2011|Faith Adventure Stories|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Theresa Lacousta May 29, 2011 at 6:31 am - Reply

    It is so true that often we are in a spiritual stupor. I’m glad for your article. I have been involved in feeding the homeless in my city Edmonton Alberta with a church and it cost me nothing except to be there, treat these homeless like they were my neighbour in my neighbourhood. The pastor and secretory thanked the homeless for coming to the supper they were having and being our guests. I have gotten to know some who are such sweet people, once they know they are safe with you. Sometimes they tell about their pain but often not. One fellow cried about how some other person stole their possessions from their “camp”. He said didn’t he know that was my “stuff”. How can you steal my stuff?, which was not much but he began to depend on it being there. So he came to us for more, tarps, clothes, essentials, socks, underwear shoes. Most of us can’t imagine this kind of life. It is a culture shock and I am thankful for the donations brought to the church by people who care. It’s something when you are searching through a pile of clothes for a man who needs another pair of pants that fit, who is standing in front of you with filthy pants — his only pair and he needs something because he has to go to work tomorrow and has nothing else, yes he smells acrid but so would you or I if I lived day and night in those clothes for fear of someone stealing them at night — yes even your shoes you can’t take off. They’ll be gone. Winter was hard but I treasure the experience and the sincere thank yous for the stew and sandwich that was prepared and a lunch given to take with them. The Lord is faithful to provide both provisions and volunteers. I praise and thank God. Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and it shall be opened. We do have to be open to serving.

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