PRTS Update “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:38). As Jesus went by the cities and villages and saw the multitudes, Matthew 9:36 says He “was moved with compassion on them.” This small account of the condition of the people and the heart of the Lord Jesus has at least two major elements that ought to greatly humble the pastor or prospective one. First, we see the heart Jesus has for the lost and the supreme example after which the heart of every pastor should be molded. Oh, to be moved with compassion as Jesus was! He was not manifesting concern at a lack of followers as much as He was concerned for the souls of those who were not following. Jesus is calling us to weep not for empty pews but for empty hearts. Only then will our concern be Christ-like. We need a sincere and deep concern for the condition of those who are without hope and without God in the world. Their condition ought to make us hurt to the point that we do something. The second thing that truly humbles any man in the ministry is what Jesus points us to do. He says to pray which in itself humbles us since prayer declares we need the Lord and we are helpless without Him; such is the reality of all of Christian life. The element which really humbles a man in the ministry is the request Jesus commanded His disciples to ask. He did not say to pray for the strength or salvation of those who were weary and scattered, which certainly has its place in our prayers. He says for us to pray that the “Lord of the harvest would send forth labourers into his harvest.” My dear fellow pastor or student of the ministry, does this humble you: that you, as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, going forth to proclaim Him in this harvest which is “truly plenteous,” are the very answer to this prayer you are commanded to pray? The “labourers” do certainly relate to every believer who shares the gospel of the Lord Jesus with unbelievers. However, a pastor, by the very nature of his vocation and work, is such a laborer every day of his life. If he is not sharing the gospel, he is studying the Word in order to share it, praying for the gospel to bear fruit, and living in holiness in order to reflect the gospel he proclaims. May the Lord give us the grace to fulfill such a high calling and privilege. May He give us the heart He Himself has for the lost. And may He bless this love to reflect a life which truly cares for others so that they are inclined to listen when we share the good news of Jesus Christ. If you are a minister or contemplating seminary studies, always remember that you are the very answer (or preparing to be) to this precious prayer Jesus taught us to pray. It is humbling to be called to such depths of Christ-like compassion and to be the very answer of Christ’s prayer.
Used with permission • The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth VOL. 13 | MAY/JUNE 2016