When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless. like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,"The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest." Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve Apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew: James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.”
Pause. Pray. Reflect.
I am vertically challenged.
It’s not usually a problem. Until I have to reach something on a high shelf. When this happens, I go in search of a chair or a step stool. And if nothing can be found, I jump to get the leverage I need to reach whatever it is that is out of reach. I have done this often in the staff kitchen at work. It always seems that the dish or mug I need has been placed on the highest shelf possible by one of my colleagues. And rather than ask one of those taller colleagues for help, I do it myself. Sometimes I will hear the voice of one of those colleagues behind me ask: “Do you need help?” Every time I politely decline and continue my struggle. Chalk it up to my independent streak. Or more likely it’s my inner stubborn five-year-old squealing: “I do it! I do it myself!” I was taught to be independent. But my life experience has taught me that asking for help is a good thing. A necessary thing.
Jesus tells the disciples to ask for help in this passage from Matthew’s Gospel: “…therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.” I had not paid much attention to this verse in the past. Given my “I’ll do it myself” attitude, it’s no surprise that I just glossed over it. My interpretation of this passage often was: Big harvest. Need labourers. Aurea, go find labourers. Yet, why wouldn’t I ask God – the creator of the labourers – to send more labourers? It’s not just up to me to find them. Jesus is tellingus to ask for help. He did and voila! The first Apostles are summoned forth. Jesus is often encouraging the disciples (and ultimately us!) to just ask:
“Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” (Mathew 21.22)
“So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11.24)
“But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” (John 11.22)
The trick is when we ask God for something we have to be ready to recognize and receive His response. It may not arrive in the way that we expect. However, if we truly believe in the power of our Triune God, God’s help, goodness, and love will and does come. Always. God wants to give us abundant goodness. And our world needs a lot of good! God manifests that necessary good through us. That’s why He created so many labourers. So even though I often choose to struggle to reach the things beyond my grasp, God is ready, and sometimes is already offering, to help. I simply need to ask for it. And be willing to receive it.