22 Oct 2017
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger

15 Oct 2017
This Too Shall Pass

8 Oct 2017
The Simple Truth: Head, Heart and Hands

1 Oct 2017
Humility – Staying close to the ground

2 Jul 2017
Welcoming the Silence

25 Jun 2017
Always Uniting…

18 Jun 2017
Are you ready for harvest?

11 Jun 2017
Don’t Blame it on the Snake

4 Jun 2017
Words Beyond Words: Breath Beyond Breath

28 May 2017
Seeing with new eyes

14 May 2017
Grace, Gracious and Graceful

30 Apr 2017
A Time for war and a time for peace

23 Apr 2017
Faithful Doubting

16 Apr 2017
God became human so that we could become divine!

12 Mar 2017
Wind of the Spirit

12 Feb 2017
From the Mountainside: The Impossible Dream?

22 Jan 2017
Grounding our Life and Faith

25 Dec 2016
That Humanity should become Divine

11 Dec 2016
Joy is for Everyone

4 Dec 2016
The Mingling of Water and Spirit

27 Nov 2016
Living Fully in the Present Moment

16 Oct 2016
Persistence and Justice

9 Oct 2016
Gratitude and Thankfulness

2 Oct 2016
Standing in the Tragic Gap

25 Sep 2016
Rich Man, Poor Man

4 Sep 2016
The Gift of Freedom

21 Aug 2016
A Hidden Wholeness

14 Aug 2016
We all need wise words to live by

31 Jul 2016
When Less is More

24 Jul 2016
Developing Healthy Relationships

17 Jul 2016
Died Wise

10 Jul 2016
Meeting Strangers on the Road

3 Jul 2016
On the Road Again

29 May 2016
Faith is the Answer

22 May 2016
The Way of Wisdom

15 May 2016
Icons and Stained Glass Windows – Inner light

8 May 2016
Unity and Oneness

1 May 2016
A Hidden Wholeness

24 Apr 2016
Lest we forget: What?

17 Apr 2016
God became human so that we could become divine!

3 Apr 2016
Thank God for St Thomas!

27 Mar 2016
Living life’s great contradictions

20 Mar 2016
Message of Peace

13 Mar 2016
Living Fully, Loving Wastefully

6 Mar 2016
Come Home, all is forgiven

28 Feb 2016
Simply, leave it alone

21 Feb 2016
Why do we “kill” our prophets?

7 Feb 2016
Keeping your Head in the Clouds

Sermons

Are you ready for harvest?

18 June, 2017 Matthew 9:35-10:8 Pentecost 2 By Rev Paul Dau


Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.

 

Agriculture forms and plays an important role in humans' lives since the time of creation. It contributes to the social, economic and environmental sustainability of many societies. In Jesus’ time, many people were fairly accustomed to farming and so it is not unintentional that he uses this language in Matthew. He was using an analogy that was fairly understandable to his listeners. Today, technology and science concepts or language can fairly be understood by many.

That is not to say agriculture is not important now. In Australia, there are about 134,000 farm businesses, 99% of which are Australian owned. An Australian farmer produces enough food to feed 600 people, 150 at home and 450 overseas. Australian farmers produce almost 93% of Australia’s daily domestic food supply. As of 2010-11, 307,000 people were employed in the agriculture sector. Overall, 3% of our GDP comes from agriculture. (National Farmers Federation).

This morning, Jesus gives us the notion that the harvest is plentiful but the harvesters are few. But really one has to pause and ask what does Jesus mean? He is talking about those who will bring people into his Kingdom. This text is within Jesus’ wider focus on mission in the world.

Today, many Christians are still intimidated and killed because of their faith. Egypt and Libya in North Africa and many parts of the Middle East are just a living example where execution of Christians still exists in large degree.

When Jesus spoke these words, the Israelites had gone through years of bad leadership and people suffered a lot. It is within this context that Jesus was led to be moved with compassion and love toward the crowds. Today, many would assume that the work of mission is ministers’ work. Or is the work of the people assigned to it. That notion is challenged and Jesus is reminding us that this is each and every one's work.

At present, about 32% of the people living in this world are Christians. On average, only 3 out of every 10 people are Christians. Think about that the next time you find yourself in a crowd of people. Whether it is at the shopping center, a major sporting event, or held in traffic. We are to share Christ’s Good News with all.

How can we do it? Jesus says, ask the Lord to send out workers. That is something we do in different ways most of the time. Another thing Jesus tells us is, freely have you received, freely give. That is something we do in our offerings; our offerings of time, talents, and treasures.

The harvest fields are ready, the harvest is waiting. You can sense the urgency here and it is upon us to hear the call. TUC has always had so many mission objectives past and present. But even with the development of mission activities we already had, we still have massive mission work ahead.

Remember, fields cannot harvest themselves. The farmer still had to get out there and go to work or send out workers to do the work for him. During his mission, Jesus worked diligently to get the message out. He knew that the eternal well-being of souls was needed.

For more than 2,000 years now, the fields are still ready, the harvest is still waiting, and those fields still aren’t going to harvest themselves,, they need harvesters. Ask yourself, who are the contemporary harvesters? What do you need to do to have fulfilled your missional work? How does missional work relate to humanity (i.e. physical v. spiritual needs)?

In my view, contemporary missional workers equal individual parishioner, congregation or parish, presbytery, synod etc. The work done by these groups takes money and giving money involves making sacrifices elsewhere and in today’s economy, I am not sure how much more one can really afford to give.

We all know that any farmer who stores up grain for him/herself and doesn’t plant it will soon find that grain running out. But the farmer who takes a little step of faith and sows that grain into his field will soon find that grain growing and producing an abundant harvest many times. That is the way God would want us to see and use the blessings he has given us.

I think we can easily make sense of that, generosity that results in thanksgiving to God! That is what our offerings are about! Every year God moved the hearts of the people to give to TUC the gifts in terms of money and materials and at the same time, TUC gave money and materials away to others and this forms the basis of our fellowship with others whether they share our faith or not.

For generations, that is how God has led the people to look beyond their own walls to see and share the blessings with the world. That is how God has led us to see just how ready the harvest is and how few the workers are; and not just pray about it but do something about it, so that lost sheep may be brought into the gathered people of God.

Whether you want to give more or less or not at all is up to you. God doesn’t want offerings that are given reluctantly or under compulsion. God wants cheerful giving from thankful hearts. Thankful hearts that “know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor so that you through his poverty might become rich”.

Sometimes, we have been more hesitant about our physical rather than the spiritual needs. Where we have nice homes, he had no place to lay his head. Where we can travel from place to place in air-conditioned comfort, he travelled by foot and endured the heat of the day to get the message of the gospel out. The message that “The kingdom of heaven is near”; and along with it the encouragement to repent and believe the good news that Jesus is the Saviour of all people.

Jesus has saved us by carrying our sins to the cross where he suffered and died to forgive them. He assures us of a heavenly home where we will dine together with him and all believers for all eternity.

Similarly, he encourages and motivates cheerful giving from thankful hearts. We all know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ because of faithful parents, family, friends, pastors, teachers, people who cared enough about you to take the time to share the message that truly matters most in life. It doesn’t take much to see how richly God has blessed us and the many opportunities he sets before us so that we might be a blessing to others. Whether it’s your time, your talents, your treasures, all these offerings result in thanksgiving to God.

Many of us are well aware that the current economy is not favourable, yet history tells us that some of the greatest giving has happened during the Great Depression or the GFC of 2008 or at a time of great disasters like the 2004 tsunami. Ask anyone who lived through them and they will probably tell you that. As we speak, there is a major famine declared in countries like South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Yemen. Many people living in those countries cannot survive without the generosity of the global community.

Brothers and sisters, the Harvest is Plentiful but the Workers are Few. Ask the Lord to send out workers. And remember, freely have you received, freely give. And pray, praise and give thanks, knowing that you may be one person who is on a pilgrimage of people walking together and working together as one in mission and purpose. Amen.

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