“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37).
We’ve heard that dozens of times. The harvest is plenteous. The laborers are few. Contained in those words is a gigantic opportunity: the big harvest. The problem is He needs workers. Because there are lots of lost and only a few seekers a strategy for world evangelism is paramount. Therefore, here is what you do:
“Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat” (Matthew 10:9-10).
“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:31-33).
The principles of God’s Word are very clear. If we take care of God’s business, He will take care of our business. God will provide. He will not forsake us. We walk by faith. Susan Fitkins said, “We never test the resources of God until we attempt the impossible for Him.” God has all we need and He will supply it to us (Philippians 4:19).
The messengers were to inquire or search for a place or person open to letting them stay there. Hopefully, in any and every town there is someone that will welcome the truth into his home and heart and will listen to the message and let it take hold in his life. Not everyone will be open and receptive. That is why, in missions, we refer to populations or people that are either receptive or resistant.
“And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you” (Matthew 10:11-13).
Gailyn Van Rheenen in Biblical Foundations and Missions explains “the world may be thought of as a giant orchard having many fields. Although some fields are ready for harvest, the husbandman is concerned about all fields, for their harvest will come in due time.” The Lord of the Harvest cares for the world and sends laborers out into the fields; everywhere and anywhere. People are like those fields. They go through times of readiness and resistance. She recommends that “the receptive should be harvested while they are open to the message and the resistant nurtured until they become receptive.”
“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet” (Matthew 10:14).
To shake the dust off their feet was a Jewish custom. It was a visual to show the people that they had made the wrong choice. The opportunity to choose Christ may never be presented to them again. It let them know that the messenger was innocent of their blood. He had obeyed the Lord of the Harvest, fulfilled His task, and the results were in the hands of God and those that heard him. Shaking the dust off one’s feet was also symbolic to the preacher. It told him to keep moving and not to be discouraged.
It is easy to read this passage and the only thing that remains in our minds is the negative; to shake the dust off our feet and move on. But, look at the reverse impact of adhering to this master plan of evangelism. Through following its principles the gospel is taken to the whole world, the kingdom of God is expanded through evangelism, deepened through discipleship, new churches are planted in the most cost-effective manner, and souls are saved. These are all reasons for rejoicing and lifting one’s hands in praise, bending one’s knees in worship, and proclaiming God’s goodness. And that beats causing a little dust storm any day.