A woman goes to her doctor and he verifies she’s pregnant, her first pregnancy. The doctor asks if she has any questions. She replies, “Well, I’m a little worried about the pain. How much will childbirth hurt during labor?” The doctor thinks for a moment then says, “Well, that varies from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy and besides, it’s difficult to describe pain.” “I know, but can’t you give me some idea?” she asks. “Well, he said, “Grab your upper lip and pull it out a little . ..” “Like this?” the woman asked. “A little more . . .” he said.“Like this?” she asked. “No. A little more . . .” “Like this?” she asked again. “Yes.” The doctor said. “Does that hurt?” “A little bit,” she replied. “Now,” he said, “stretch your lip over your head!” Sounds to me like that would hurt!
As we observe Labor Day, we are not going to talk about those who are going into labor today, but about laborers. “After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” (Luke 10:1-2). People today are spiritually hungry, some are lost, and their lives are messed up. The world is crying out to us that we need a Savior more than we ever have! And Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful.”
Christ’s call for laborers is based on human need, not on a desire to build the biggest or most influential church in town or the desire to cram our values down someone else’s throat. The world desperately needs what only the church can give, a Savior.
Many churches aren’t growing because they’re seeking the wrong audience, looking for people who have got it altogether, not those who are falling apart, looking for the up-and-ins, not the down-and-outs, looking for saints not for sinners. What did Jesus say? “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners” (Mark 2:15). How did we get it so wrong? “The harvest is plentiful,” if you know where to look.
One place to look is our present generation of young adults. They’re not looking for a friendly church; they’re looking for friends and informality. And we know that they despise phoniness and the “me, myself, and I pastors” whose preaching is centered on themselves and not the Savior. They want pastors and people to be genuine and have integrity.
The last thing Jesus did before he left this earth was give us the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20a). This is our primary purpose!
Remember, The church is not a museum for the saints, but a hospital for the hurting. The fields are ready for the harvest. That’s what Christ teaches us!!! (Rev. Sam A. Storey, Sr. is Senior Associate Minister, Emeritus, First United Methodist Church of Marietta, Georgia. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Editor’s Note: Rev. Sam A. Storey column is published every month in the Bright Side Community Newspapers and we appreciate the time he takes to share his thoughts with us.