Scripture Matthew 9:35 – 10:4
Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered. Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives. This is the list of the twelve he sent: Simon (they called him Peter, or “Rock”), Andrew, his brother, James, Zebedee’s son, John, his brother, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, the tax man, James, son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon, the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot (who later turned on him).
“I see a huge harvest, but not enough workers, let’s pray for harvest hands!” That’s what Jesus told his disciples. Why?, because there were so many needing help, , but not enough hands to do it. Where will Jesus find all those harvest hands, they all wondered. Don’t worry, Jesus has a plan! Stay tuned!
It’s a lot like being a farmer. The farmer plants the crops in the spring, one farmer can spread the seed, but when the harvest is ready the farmer needs LOTS AND LOTS of hands to pick the grapes, the tomatoes, the wheat, cherries and peaches. Without enough hands, the fruit remains on the vine or on the tree or in the field; if it is picked too late, the harvest never gets to market, and all of the produce may go bad before families can be fed.
But the harvest Jesus is talking about is not a harvest of apples, cucumbers or cantaloupes, he’s really talking about a harvest of PEOPLE, and he needs lots of hands, harvest hands, to reach them all.
Jesus could see people everywhere he went who were bruised and hurt. Anyone here ever have a bruise or a hurt? But Jesus was real smart, he wasn’t talking about bruises and hurts on the outside, that you can fix with an icepack or a bandage, but bruises and hurts on the inside, that are not as easy to see, but Jesus sees them clearly. He sees sadness, hunger, discouragement, anger and hatred. He can’t help everyone all at once, so he needs lots of extra hands, harvest hands, to bring God’s hope and healing to those who need it most.
Where will Jesus find those harvest hands? He has a plan, and let me tell you all about it. The extra harvest hands are YOU, yes, the children of our churches. Jesus needs you to help him with the bruises and hurts of this world by helping others, by sharing kind words, by offering encouragement and love, and by sharing food. Most of the adults here in worship know all about these harvest hands, but today we want our children to know, too.
The disciples when asked to be harvest hands all said yes. And what a difference they made! Today, on Children’s Sunday, we all say “yes!” to Jesus. Amen.