Why is the Harvest So Great But the Laborers So Few?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Jesus told His disciples to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest,” so why are so few entering into the harvest by sharing the gospel?

A Labor Shortage

Jesus told His disciples to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt 9:38), so why are so few entering into the harvest by sharing the gospel? I have to ask myself this question: When was the last time I shared Christ or prayed for someone who is lost? Have I neglected the harvest of human souls by which God uses us as a means to His ends? That is, have I allowed God to use me as a witness so that I’m actually entering into the harvest? Am I part of the reason Jesus said to pray for more laborers because there are not enough now? I must admit, yes, I have been silent when I’ve had a chance to share Christ, but I try to do that every time I go into public, at least once a day, even if it’s to ask if I can pray for someone. I admit it is a labor…but it is a labor of love.

Who is the Lord of the Harvest?

Jesus told His disciples that “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt 9:37-38), so who is this “Lord of the harvest?” I believe it is God Himself Who calls and sends people from around the world to share the gospel around the world. By His Spirit and by His Word (Bible) He sends people with His Spirit to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself told the disciples to go into all the world and make disciples (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8), but many won’t even go next door. There is a severe shortage of laborers of the gospel. Most fear men over God and fear rejection and scorn over saving souls. That sounds harsh, but ask yourself, when was the last time you shared the gospel with a lost person, known or unknown? Pray that God would send you into the harvest but to send forth more laborers too. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest Who is God Himself.

Who Will Go For Him?

This verse may be my favorite verse of all time because it makes me weep for being so silent at times about Christ. No one I’ve met in the last 14 years has ever come up to me to share Christ, even though I am already saved (but they don’t know that!). How many hundreds and thousands of souls have never heard the gospel because of the silence of the Christians they know in their lives? Here we read that the Lord cares deeply about the lost, but knows so few are willing to God, so the Lord makes a plea to and through Isaiah, but to all of us when He says, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Will you go for Him? If not you, then who?

That None Should Perish

God takes no pleasure at all in the death of the wicked (Ezk 18:32). Rather, He seeks to save those who come to Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. God desires that none should perish apart from Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:9), so do we care enough to be involved? Since God’s desire is that not one person perish, is that our passionate desire too? If not, why not? Over and over again, God declares His desire to save men and women from the coming wrath of God. He takes no pleasure in their eternal destructions (Ezk 18:32, 33:11; 1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9). If you have not recently read these Bible verses (Ezk 18:32, 33:11; 1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9), then read them again and again and re-discover how God feels about lost souls. Remember, someone shared Christ with you. God loved us first before we ever loved Him (1 John 4:19), making the first move in our lives, so that is what we too must do; make the first move to share the gospel to a lost and dying world.

Not Your Responsibility

When I share the gospel, I realize it’s not my responsibility to save anyone. If that were so, none would be saved I talked to, so even though it’s not my responsibility to save anyone, it is my responsibility to share Christ. It is really their response to His ability. God alone saves, but He is pleased to use us as a means to do so. It takes a person from God with the Word of God and the Spirit of God to birth a child of God, so the pressure is off us to save anyone. Isn’t that a relief? Today and tomorrow morning, pray that God prepares hearts and minds to be receptive to the gospel before you go out and share Jesus Christ. Let God’s Spirit prepare the soil before you plant the seed (His Word).

The Great Omission

Instead of obeying the imperative command from the King of Glory, called the Great Commission, today it is the “great omission?” Why? The Barna Research Company reports that “Almost half of Millennials (47%) agree at least somewhat that it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith.” [1] What’s sad about that is around half of Christian millennials think it’s wrong to share their faith…but Jesus said it is wrong if we don’t. Who’s right? Of course, it’s not the millennials. For most people, it’s the fear of rejection, facing scorn, risking relationships, or even losing their job, but when we fear God more, we will fear man less.


The harvest is so great because the laborers are so few. That’s the problem. The harvest is all around you. Just look for people and there’s the field! Jesus said, “There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). The time is now.

It is my prayer that you have already put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. If not, you are in real mortal danger of hell fire. What I mean is you are in immediate danger if you have not yet trusted in Christ. Like all the unsaved, you’re one breath, one heartbeat…one accident away from eternity when it will be too late to repent. That is why today is the best day ever to believe (2 Cor 6:2). Tomorrow is not guaranteed. If Jesus Christ were to come today, read your fate (Matt 7:21-23; Rev 20:15-20). This is why I plead with you as you read this right now, repent today. Put your trust in Jesus Christ. If not, you will face God’s judgment after death (Heb 9:27) or when Jesus Christ appears (Rev 20:12-15), and that could happen even today.

1 Barna Research. “Millennials Oppose Evangelism” (Feb 5, 2019) https://www.barna.com/research/millennials-oppose-evangelism/

Here is some related reading for you: Ways to Evangelize Through Our Actions

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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