God's maths is not our maths.
Continuing the discussion on Luke 10.
Luke 10:2 says this: "These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields."
A number of key points come out in this.
- According to Jesus, the problem isn't the harvest. (See my post on how to recognize a ripe harvest at http://bit.ly/a8tbOW) In another place, Jesus says to the disciples, "You say there are still 4 months left until harvest, but I tell you, the harvest is ready now" (paraphrase of John 4:35). We give God excuses as to why the harvest isn't ready–"My area is too hard, no one is interested," As soon as I finish this, (think of an excuse) I'll go out and find a ripe field." But the Lord of the harvest says, "Now's the time!"
- The real problem is too few workers. But hold on. Jesus had 70+12= 82 workers. That's 41 pairs of people who were going out into the harvest. Surely that's enough! If we had that number of committed church planting teams here in our area, we'd be thrilled. But according to Jesus, that's inadequate for the task. It reminds me of the old story. How do you get a herd of cows to produce more milk? Do you feed them better food, give them extra vitamins, play them soothing music in their stalls? That might help a little (well the food and vitamins, anyway). No, the best way to significantly increase milk production is to add more cows to your herd! It's a bit like this here. It's easier to see more harvest by increasing the number of workers than by trying to persuade the existing ones to work harder or smarter.
- Jesus' solution to the problem is this: Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers into the harvest. We are to pray (beseech, beg) the Lord to send out more workers. The Greek word used her for "send out" is ekballo which has an element of violence in it. It's the word used for casting out a demon. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the story of the Luke 10:2b virus (which I tell in detail in "An Army of Ordinary People") and how a prayer movement is producing amazing results in terms of church planting around the country. We minimize the importance of prayer to our cost!