Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

If Laborers are Few, then Leaders are Fewer

Jesus states a simple fact in Mat. 9:35 – the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers (workers) are few. This reality was true when Jesus stated it, it is still true today, and it will be true when He returns. Why would there be ‘few’ laborers? Why are laborer-leaders in short supply?

First, the laborers are few because it is costly, hard work to labor for Christ. Most of us, if we are honest, have the ‘gift’ of being served, instead of serving others. It is this tendency that encourages many to let the few serve the many. It takes a lot out of us as we serve, lead, and help others. This effort is draining and personally depleting. Work is still called ‘work,’ even in the Kingdom.

Secondly, the laborer-leaders are few because it is a volunteer workforce. Just as we can opt in or out of salvation, we are also given the opportunity to opt in or out of spiritual serving. Yes, making disciples of all the nations is a command, but we have the choice to make of whether we will obey or not. We are incentivized with the promise of rewards for faithful service (1 Cor.3) and reminded of the potential loss of reward, but it is not conscription in the Lord’s service.

Thirdly, there must be a transformation with us in order to labor and lead in the harvest. We must change from being self-focused to being others focused. This is a spiritual work that the Holy Spirit does within us and the heart and mind of Christ are formed within all those who believe and follow Him. We can ask for a new heart (Ez. 22:30) that He promises and He will give it. But the transformation is truly a miracle of His grace as we grow out of our own ego centric world views to become others centered.

The amazing thing about Mat 9:35-38 is that Jesus is not complaining about the lack of a few laborers. He is simply stating the facts. God’s purposes will be accomplished, even though there are only a few laborers entering into the harvest. The harvest will be reaped. God’s plans will be completed, with us or without us.

It’s a volunteer outfit. Do I see that hand up?

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