How many promises have you made in your lifetime?
I read about a couple who had been married for 45 years, raised 11 children, and were blessed with 22 grandchildren. When asked the secret for staying together the wife replied, “Many years ago we made a promise to each other…the first one to pack up and leave has to take all the kids.”
The Bible is full of promises. Books listing every promise in scripture have been published over the years. One such book highlights over 800 promises from God’s Word. If we’re honest, most of us have combed through a book of this nature and claimed promises that would help us get what we desired. I’m partial to number 858 on page 83.
Which of God’s promises stand out in your mind?
I think all of us could testify of God’s faithfulness to His promises, but let me ask you this – what hasn’t God promised? Or, as the title of this blog states, “God never promised this.”
One of my favorite parables is the parable of the sower. It’s found in several places in the Gospels. It’s full of promises including:
- Some of the scattered seeds find good soil.
- The ones that do yield a return of 30, 60 or up to 100 times what was sown.
- There is a harvest directly related to the seeds that were sown.
But that’s where it stops.
What is missing? What is the one thing God never promised? Laborers. Instead of promising the laborers, He tells us to pray for laborers. On one occasion recorded in John’s Gospel, Jesus, moved with compassion for the people he encountered, said to his disciples, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, to send out laborers,” Matthew 9:38. The harvest is there. The seeds have done their job. God has done what He promised to do. But the laborers – no guarantee. We must pray for them.
Could God provide the laborers? Certainly. But He has chosen not to do so. Instead, God’s calls us to pray for them. Why?
The short answer is God doesn’t tell us why. He simply tells us to pray for those who are needed to gather what He has prepared.
I’ll attempt to provide a couple of reasons why I believe this is God’s desired direction.
First, when we pray for something or someone, we’re assigning value. Think about it, when we value something or someone, we pray for them.
An old preacher once shared the 3 things God values the most:
Lost people matter to God. They have value to God. The question becomes, do they have value to us? Do we value them enough to pray for the laborers to bring them in from their fields of depression, disillusion and disappointment? Everybody will spend eternity somewhere. It’s a sobering reality!
Second, when we pray for people, it keeps them in what the marketing folks call “top of mind.” In other words, we pray for them because I’m thinking about them. If we’re going to glean what God has grown, praying for laborer’s should be in the forefront or top of mind. They are the missing link, if you will, to bringing in the promised harvest.
Promises abound in our culture. From politicians to products, almost everyone and everything promises to provide something that will make our lives better. But as Christ followers, our purpose is not to make our lives better, but lead others to experience the love, forgiveness and purpose God provides. God promises that they, the harvest, are there, waiting, watching to see if we’ll send people to bring them in.
The revival we talk about, the revival we long for, just might begin when we pray for and send laborers to bring in what God has promised.
Let’s pray for the laborers to go, and may we also be the first to hear the call.