The Harvest is Plentiful Matthew 9:37

In Matthew 9:37, Jesus tells us the harvest is plentiful. But what does that mean? In this devotional, we’ll read the words of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew and discover the true meaning behind this important scripture.

What does Matthew 9:37-38 mean?

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

                                                Matthew 9:37-38 NIV

This time of year, we talk about the harvest a lot. Instead of the old-fashioned vegetable picking and gathering, here in North America, it’s become a fun celebration of the fall season.

And in church, we read this Bible verse about the harvest each autumn. But do we really take the time to understand what Matthew 9:37-38 means in our lives?

Let’s look deeper into it and find the true meaning behind the message Jesus gives us in this verse.

The harvest is truly plentiful

The harvest represents the unreached people in our lives God wants us to share the gospel with.

But sometimes it’s easy to think there isn’t anyone left to witness to. We surround ourselves with others who are like us and mistakenly think they are already saved.

However, when we take a closer look, we can see there are so many people in our lives who need Jesus.

They may be co-workers, friends, or even a family member or two.

In His wisdom, God has placed us where we are in life for a reason. And He put these people in our path for us to tell them the good news of salvation.

This is our mission field. And we don’t need to go to a far-off land to find it.

My pastor likes to call it “a divine appointment”. An unexpected moment to talk about our beliefs and share the love of Jesus and the grace of God.

Jesus called it “a harvest”. He said there are still plenty of people in the world today who are ready to hear the truth about Him right now.

There is always someone who needs Jesus! And if we’re willing to look around for even a minute, we’ll see the harvest is truly plentiful.

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The laborers are few

The problem isn’t that there is no harvest to gather and bring into the barn.

Instead, the problem is a labor shortage on God’s farm.

With the sheer number of people who claim to be a Christian, you’d think there would be a bountiful, almost unlimited amount of laborers available to share the gospel message.

But the reality is, the workers are few because we choose for it to be that way.

We avoid the work of God’s Kingdom and abandon the mission of the harvest before it even begins.

Why? Because it’s hard work.

But as God’s people, it is our responsibility to take up the plow and share the truth about the eternal life we have in Christ Jesus.

Read More in this Bible Study: Heartwarming Bible Verses for Fall

How will they know if we don’t tell them?

Everyone needs a Savior! But how will they know about Jesus if we don’t tell them?

How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?

                                               Romans 10:14 NKJV

For most people the idea of “witnessing” is scary.

And I agree, it can be a daunting task.

We get caught up in our heads wondering… Will they think I’m crazy? Will they make fun of me? What if they ask questions? Will I be able to answer them?

Our minds are filled with doubt about our ability to be an effective witness.

But as followers of Christ, we are commanded by Jesus to take the gospel to the people who need to hear it.

The Ministry of Jesus

Jesus’ mission here on earth was always God’s harvest. Because there is nothing more important to God than saving the lost.

We are all sinners who need the forgiveness of sins through the free gift of God’s grace. We instinctively know this truth deep down in our hearts.

People weren’t any different during the time of Jesus. They knew they needed a Savior just as much as we do. So everywhere Jesus went He was followed by crowds of people seeking the saving grace of God. Jesus saw them, met with them, and healed them. He knew that there was a ripe harvest ready to be gathered.

And the harvest is just as plentiful today!

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

                                                Matthew 9:35 NIV

The Great Commission

God’s desire is for each and every person to know the Son of God, as their Lord and Savior. That’s why He sent His Son to dir in our place. And it’s the reason Jesus gave us the “Great Commission”.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

                                              Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV

This is a command from our Lord Jesus Christ, to take the truth of His gospel to all people. Because we all need to be saved.

But it is also a promise to us. Jesus will never leave us, even when the going gets tough. He is with us when we fail and when we succeed in the mission.

So, we need to ask ourselves, are we willing to step out of our comfort zone and follow the command of Jesus? Are we willing to take hold of this great promise knowing He is with us even to the end of the age?

Read More in this Devotional: Inspiring Bible Verses about God’s Hands  

What if they don’t believe?

It’s hard when we feel like the person we’re witnessing to won’t believe. When that happens, Jesus says…

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

                                                Matthew 10:14 NIV

There have been times in my life when the person I was witnessing to would not accept Jesus.

I thought they were hard-headed and couldn’t see the plain truth in front of them. I felt discouraged and like I was not being a very good witness.

But Jesus is telling us that some will believe in Him, and others won’t.

We just need to keep telling everyone we meet about Him and then the next person, and then the next.

It’s not up to us whether they become a Christian or not. We don’t have the power to make anyone believe. Only the Holy Spirit has the power to call people to Himself. And ultimately, it’s their decision to follow Jesus or not.

But it is our job to tell them the gospel, to pray for them, and to disciple them if they decide to accept Jesus as their Savior.

Leave everything else to the Holy Spirit.

And if you witness to someone and they don’t believe, shake the dust off and keep going. There are plenty of lost souls left to harvest.

Pray to the Lord of the Harvest

We hear Matthew 9 echoed in the book of Luke.


Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

                                                     Luke 10:2 NKJV

In the gospel of Luke, Jesus says the harvest is great. And His message couldn’t be any clearer… Our mission field is wide open and ripe for the picking. All we need to do is pray for the Lord of the harvest to send us out as His laborers.

So, let’s pray for our Heavenly Father to send us out into the mission field He has for us and be ready to share the gospel with someone today.

The harvest is plentiful, ripe, and ready!

If you’re still worried about being a laborer on God’s farm… All you need to be an effective witness is a willing heart. God will give you the right words to speak. And He will bring to remembrance the right Bible verses at the right time.

Your mission field is right in front of you and your harvest is ripe for the picking! So, don’t be scared to share the gospel with someone. Jesus is with you.

My prayer for you today is that you will see the plentiful harvest and be encouraged to join the mission field today.

May God bless you in your pursuit of His harvest today and always! And may you reap a great reward for the Kingdom of God!

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2 Older Comments. (These comments cannot be replied to, but you are welcome to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.)


11/15/2017 02:43:27 pm

Amen! Our job is to witness and pray for them, not to make them believe.

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

11/15/2017 04:49:33 pm

Hi Ruth! Thanks for the encouraging words. May God bless you as you witness and pray.