If someone were to sit down and begin writing a list of the greatest problems facing the Gospel today they would end up with a pretty extensive list. Division, confusion, hate, false teaching, comfort-zones, divisiveness, bias, and apathy are some, just to name a few, of the conundrums that the Gospel and those who proclaim it face on a daily basis. No doubt these are some troubling factors contributing to the issues, but they are not the greatest issue. The greatest issue facing the Gospel is the fact that the fields, opportunities, fruit, and harvest are out-weighing the amount of laborers, evangelists, and workers to help reap and cultivate the growth.
This is nothing new. We have the same exact problem Jesus saw on two separate occasions. In Luke 10:2 and John 4:35, Jesus identifies the greatest problem the Gospel has, and it is not even anything to do with the Gospel but rather is totally due to the ones proclaiming it. When read together, it is clear to see the most dangerous problem facing the good news of Jesus Christ is in fact… US! In Luke 10:2, Jesus said, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Then in John 4:35 He said, “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest?’ Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”
The problem has never been with the Gospel, and it will never be with the Gospel. The good news of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, coming to this world to become the perfect sacrifice and atonement for the sins of all mankind for all time is not the problem, nor could it ever be. The problem has been and always will be with those who have been challenged to take this good news and spread it all throughout the world, but then decide not to go out and actually do it. The Gospel of our Lord has grown an amazingly great harvest, so much so that it is white for the picking… The problem is, there are not enough people willing to GET TO WORK to take advantage of the opportunities the Gospel has already produced. So often, the blame gets put on the Gospel, as if there was some deficiency with it. For the record, all deficiency, error, failure, and shortcomings are to be placed on us and on us alone.
The Gospel is the greatest news and the greatest story mankind could ever hear. That is why the seed we are asked to plant and to water is nothing but the Gospel. The Gospel does not need us to re-invent some kind of crazy mega seed to reach more people… it has already been perfected in the life of Jesus Christ our Lord. So many times, we want to figure out a clever way, a smarter way, a different way, or an alternate way to reach others when the Gospel is powerful enough in and of itself! The greatest problem is not in the Gospel’s effectiveness, it is in our unwillingness to be laborers in His field. “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few.”
The excuse we give to why we are not laboring is simple and seems to be true, to someone looking straight down. We say, “But there are no opportunities at my school, my team, my work, or my office to evangelize; everyone has made up their mind on religion.” Jesus is challenging us to LIFT UP OUR EYES and see the harvest that is just waiting on laborers to harvest the crops! When we do not lift up our eyes and see the opportunities that Jesus’ news has produced in our every day life, that harvest goes to waste. When a crop or field goes without harvesting, those crops and fields begin to rot, to attract bugs and worms, and other insects consume them.
There is no difference in evangelism. When the person at school or work or everyday life has been placed before us by the Gospel and time and time again we do nothing but continue to look straight down, we are allowing the work that the Gospel has put in go to waste. The people who would have been added to the Lord’s Church and become part of His body, but are now left to be consumed by other things, worldly things. If only we had lifted up our eyes and seen the wonderful things Jesus was trying to do through us.
Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism