He [Jesus] told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! Luke 10:2-3 NIV
For the next few days we’re going to use Luke 10 to consider how we might be a bit more helpful in the world. The world itself is sending all sorts of mixed messages about what it means to be helpful. Are we supposed to make America great (again)? Is America already great (no need for Kaepernick to protest then, is there?)? Is the discussion about America and speculation about its greatness EVEN THE POINT? Folks, these questions matter.
Here I sit, wondering these things. It might help to refresh your memory that I’m not just sitting in my office twiddling my thumbs asking these kinds of questions from my ivory tower of happiness. I am suffering. I am mourning the loss of my mother; I am devastated by events leading up to the death of my mother; I am a bag of crushed bones. I am profoundly aware of how much help I need; I am keenly aware of how hurtful and hurting the world is that we temporarily occupy; I am tender and I think my eyes see more tenderness around me because I am attuned to it. It’s in this state that I receive these snarky political jabs and finger pointing (from all sides) and I think, “My people, my people, what are we doing to each other? Don’t you know how fragile life and love is? Don’t you know that all these opinions are not to be compared to the craving for love that the world and its people hunger for? What are we doing, biting and devouring each other like little piglets running to a trough, afraid we will go hungry if we don’t gobble up everything edible within reach?”
That’s my context, and it is within this suffering space that I have previously learned to lean. I lean on the friendship and teachings of my friends Dale and Juanita, because, well, they know suffering, and they are willing to help in ways that actually seem to be healing. Maybe that’s why I return so often to Luke 10 and a teaching Dale once did on the chapter – which I will be using liberally in the next few devos.
Tomorrow, I promise, we’ll really dig into the text. But for today, notice the context that Jesus is speaking about. Harvest comes once a year; the stakes are high; these crops will determine wellness of this community for the next year. This work must be done within days, maybe even hours depending on the weather forecast. These folks don’t need a better strategic plan, they need harvesters! Everyone is desperately in need of help; they know that it is risky business to not get those crops in once they ripen. But these farmers have a problem, because the resources are limited, everyone is vying for the few available workers. It’s a season that can get competitive but would be better served by cooperation. Sound familiar? Most of us today are not farmers, but boy, aren’t we often scrambling in a world that FEELS like there are not enough resources to go around? How are we handling that? Are we competing or cooperating with one another? Hint: we need more collaboration, less competition.