35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  (Matthew 9: 35-38)
From verse 37 of our text this morning we learn that the source of the problem is not that the harvest is huge, but that the laborers are lacking. We know that Jesus is the master teacher and as such, knows that the best method of the disciples learning is hands on experience.
Clearly, our part in making disciples is not simply to watch Jesus from the audience. He commands us to petition God to send out laborers into the harvest. Then as now, the laborers are few. Then as now the harvest is huge. Then as now, Jesus commands his disciples to not only ask God to raise up more harvesters, but also sends them out to show how serious he is. You see, we ourselves are the answer to the prayer we are commanded to pray!
The command of Christ has an urgency not usually captured in today’s translations. First, the harvest often was a metaphor for the end times, and every farmer knew the importance of getting a harvest in once it was ready. Second, the Greek word translated as “send out” means to thrust violently. The same word is used in expelling demons from people. A farmer who hired laborers to harvest the crop, knowing the importance of gathering in the harvest before it rots, might not be gentle in getting lackadaisical workers out into the field.
The fact that over two thousand years have come and gone since this event took place does not lessen the urgency. Today’s Christians are still to pray that God would “expel” laborers – and be ready to be sent themselves. Let’s pray this prayer, be ready to be sent and expect more to come!
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Mt 9:35–38). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.