“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few. . .”
This is the beginning of one of my favorite scriptures. Even though I love this scripture, it can also be difficult and challenging. It saddens me because I have seen the reality that the “laborers for the harvest” (Christians who are willing to live and preach the Gospel) are few in the world. The laborers are few in Haiti, the laborers are few in Europe, but the laborers may also be few in your own school, or your own home or family.
The first time I went on a foreign mission trip, I went to General Cepeda, Mexico. Each evening, we would drive out to “ranchos” which were little towns out in the desert. We would pray and minister at the ranchos each evening. These little towns had chapels, but no priests, and the people there could not usually get to mass because they didn’t have the transportation or the means to get there. These people remained Catholic, despite the fact that they often could not receive the sacraments. While it was beautiful to be able to minister to these people, it was also difficult for me when I realized that there are people in our Church who are trying to be faithful Catholics, but do not get to receive the sacraments that really MAKE us Catholic! It saddened me to think that those people probably felt forgotten by our Church. I felt personally responsible that as a member of the Church, I needed to make sure that people know that they are not forgotten or abandoned by God.
I am thinking about that this morning, because the same thing is true in Haiti. Each parish has several chapels assigned to it – some of these chapels see priests often, some of them see a priest about once a year.
I can’t help but think about the number of souls that are being lost because there is no one to go and minister to them. It is far too easy to get comfortable in our lives and weigh the risks or the difficulties of going on a mission trip, being a missionary, or even just living and speaking the Gospel in our schools and workplaces. We all make excuses. Even those of us who are missionaries, at least think and worry about “ME” more than we worry about the countless people in the world who need to hear the Gospel and who at this moment are not hearing it. Whether our excuses are money, relationships, jobs, school, comforts, or just fear, there are far too many things that we put in between us and the call that God has placed on our lives.
For me, too often, I feel unworthy. I feel small. I feel as if God could not possibly use me. I feel scared of being uncomfortable, or of just speaking up. Sometimes I just doubt that I am able to hear His voice. All of these things hinder me and stop me from being the missionary that God is calling me to be.
Today and every day, I need to ask God again how He wants me to be a laborer for His harvest, and pray that there might be more people willing to evangelize with their whole lives, starting first with me.
“. . . so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Luke 10:2