Harvest is Plentiful: What Does It Mean?

The phrase “the harvest is plentiful” represents the urgency to heed God’s call to reach out to others and share our faith.

Christianity is the most widespread religion. Although billions of people know and have a relationship with Jesus, many worldwide still have not even heard of His name – people who are like lost sheep without a shepherd to care for them. 

Jesus desires for the lost to repent and come to Him. He said the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. What did Jesus mean by this, and how would it make a difference in our world today?

Harvest is Plentiful

What Does Harvest is Plentiful Mean?

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every affliction. When he 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 laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35-38

Jesus taught, preached, and healed others while traveling through many towns and villages. He saw that people were helpless, waiting for the Messiah, and wanting eternal life. He felt mercy for them. But He also knew that the way to fill their spiritual hunger was through Himself. 

He knew they needed the Truth and compassion that only God’s Word could give. At that time, many people were ready to believe in Him – like crops ready to be harvested, leading Jesus to say that the harvest is plentiful. And just like more farmers are needed to harvest crops, God needs more people to share the gospel of Christ.

Harvest is plentiful

The word “harvest” appears three times in Matthew 9:35-38. In its biblical sense, harvest refers to gathering God’s people. The phrase “the harvest is plentiful” is loaded with significance. During that time, many people were waiting for the Messiah and the redemption of God. This implies why “harvest” represents the people’s receptivity to the gospel. 

When we parallel the phrase to its literal sense, if farmers fail to harvest with urgency at the ripe time, the crops will be destroyed and go to waste. So, just as Jesus says, “harvest is plentiful,” we need to share the Good News of the gospel of Jesus with others.

Laborers are few

Jesus did not always receive an enthusiastic reception from all of Israel during His time on earth. He faced opposition from religious authorities like the Pharisees. There were also a number of skeptics or non-believers. 

However, many who came to Him sought God’s rescue and redemption. So, while they were sinners, God’s grace allowed them to be ripe and ready to receive Him.

At the heart of Jesus’s work and invitation is the reality that only some of His followers are bold enough to work for Kingdom building. Some individuals claim allegiance to Christ but live a double life—one where they’re convinced to have a relationship with Jesus and the other giving into the lusts and desires of the flesh and this world. 

Therefore, they succumb to the fear, discomfort, and inconvenience of working on the mission to spread the gospel.

The need to work for the Kingdom

The work referred to in Matthew 9 refers to each Christian’s critical mission, which is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. This mission is also covered in Matthew 28:19-20, best known as the Great Commission. But how do we do this exactly? How do we expand the Kingdom of Jesus here on earth? 

First and foremost, we must have an intimate relationship with Jesus, abiding in Him and anchoring our lives on the truth of His death and resurrection. Then, as an outflow of this relationship, we are to love other people as Jesus Christ Himself loved us (John 13:34). This Kingdom work is us witnessing Christ’s love to a world of sin and depravity.

Harvest is Plentiful

What does harvest is plentiful mean for today’s Church?

Today, there is still a significant demand for laborers in the Kingdom. There are billions of people who have never heard of the Good News of the gospel of Jesus. It is not a lack of opportunity that prevents Christians from participating in Kingdom building, but fear, worry, and comfort usually hinder followers from sharing the gospel. 

Ministering to others in a sinful world that does not recognize Christ as Savior and Lord is not easy. Sometimes, it will cost our own lives. But our great mission as part of God’s family is to plant the seeds of God’s Word, just as laborers in the field. 

As Christians, we must also keep praying that God will further commission additional laborers into the fields to take part in the harvest. In other words, we are to pray that God will increase the number of individuals who follow Jesus and share the gospel. 

We are encouraged to pray for God to situate us in places where we can meet non-believers, reach out to them, love them in truth, and pray for them. We are to be bold in our allegiance to Jesus and not back down when we are called to be missionaries in different parts of the globe, even in violent places. Also, we must actively pray for divine appointments to participate in gospel ministry. 

In the same vein, we are also to care for and disciple those already part of the Body of Christ, not neglecting our role in their lives. All these with our hope secured in Christ alone, who enables, equips, and empowers us.

Questions to reflect on in understanding the significance of harvest is plentiful.

The harvest is plentiful, but there is a need for more workers. Therefore, realizing our Christian mission is essential to our Christianity. 

To do this, I encourage these questions as points of reflection and prayer:

  1. What is stopping me from sharing the gospel and being a witness of Jesus to the world?
  2. How can I respond to God’s call to share the gospel and make disciples? 
  3. In what ways can I participate in the expansion of God’s kingdom?

Prayers About Harvest is Plentiful

Jesus saw a need among His followers, felt compassion for them, foretold a possible harvest, and instructed us to pray for it. It seems weird that the farmers are supposed to ask the farm owner to send out additional laborers into the fields to harvest. Is Jesus implying that God is unaware of His people’s condition? 

Reading Matthew 9 tells us that God intended prayer to precede the “work.” When it comes to the Christian ministry workforce, prayer is still the most significant place to start. God intends for His people to gather in prayer. Here are prayers you can pray about harvest is plentiful:

Prayer to spread the gospel

Heavenly Father, I ask for guidance and strength in fulfilling my mission to spread Your gospel. I beg for Your help because I know I am powerless to do it on my own. Replace the fear in my heart with the security and confidence I can only find in You. 

Place in my heart a burden for Your people so that I may love them with the same compassion, mercy, and grace that you selflessly afford me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Prayer to make disciples

Dear God, I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving for the gift of Your Word. Thank You for Your sacrifice, which allowed me to reconcile with God. Without Your finished work, I would not have the gift of eternal life. Lord, my desire is for more people to know You. Thus, may I have the bravery to proclaim your gospel without fear or hesitation. 

As I reflect Your Good News to everyone around me, may I be a good witness of Your love to my family, friends, colleagues, and other spheres of influence. May I not compromise my walk and not take this mission of making disciples for granted. 

As I bring people closer to You, Lord, may I remain humble as I give back all the honor and glory to You alone. In Jesus’ mighty Name. Amen.

Harvest is Plentiful

Final Thoughts

It is the Holy Spirit’s work to open people’s spiritual eyes and call them to God. But Jesus used the image of a plentiful harvest and a ripe crop as a call to prayer for additional workers for His kingdom. A bountiful harvest means multitudes of people repenting, coming to the Lord, and sharing the gospel. 

Jesus desires us to heed His call to fulfill the Christian mission of reaching out to others and sharing our faith. May the Lord give you the strength, wisdom, and power to be a laborer in expanding His Kingdom! 


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Alex Shute
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.

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