MEATY: It’s Harvest Time!
THE WHOLE ESTATE – A Classic Missions Challenge, by Oswald J. Smith:
“Here is an estate. The master tells his servants that he is leaving, but that he will be returning. And while he is gone, they are to bring the entire estate under cultivation . . . ”
The Whole Estate
A Classic Missions Challenge
–By Oswald J. Smith, Missionary Evangelist
Here is an estate. The master tells his servants that he is leaving, but that he will be returning. And while he is gone, they are to bring the entire estate under cultivation.
They begin working around the house. They beautify the gardens and flowerbeds. Next year the weeds grow and again they go to work, keeping the lawns in perfect condition.
Presently one of them remembers his master’s orders. “I must go,” he explains. “Our master told us to bring the entire estate under cultivation.” And he prepares to leave. “But,” they cry, “we cannot spare you. See how fast the weeds grow. We need you here.” In spite of their protests, however, he leaves and begins working in a far corner of the estate.
Later on, two others remember their Lord’s orders and in spite of objections they too, go and cultivate another part of the estate.
At last their master returns. He is pleased as he looks at the flowerbeds and gardens and the lawns around his house. But before rewarding his servants, he decides to explore the rest of the estate and as he does so, his heart sinks for he sees nothing but wilderness and marsh, and he realizes that there has not even been an attempt to cultivate.
Finally he comes to the one man working all by himself in a distant part of the estate and he rewards him richly. He discovers the two in still another part and likewise rewards them. Then he returns to headquarters where his servants are waiting and expecting a reward, but his face indicates displeasure.
“Have we not been faithful?” they explain. “Look at these flowerbeds and gardens. Look at these lawns. Are they not beautiful? And have not we worked hard?”
“Yes,” he replies, “you have done your best. You have been faithful. You have labored diligently.”
“Well then,” they cry, “why are you disappointed? Are we not entitled to a reward?”
“There is one thing you have forgotten,” he replied. “You have forsaken my orders. I did not tell you to work the same gardens and lawns again and again, year after year. I told you to bring the entire estate under cultivation, to cultivate it, and when your companions insisted upon going and doing their part, you objected. No, there is no reward.”
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Matthew 9:37-38 NKJV
More verses about reaping God’s harvest of souls:
He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.
Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.
And he said to them, “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.
SOURCE: Smith, Oswald J., A Passion for Souls, (Toronto, Ontario: People’s Church). Excerpted from an article found in The Harvest Call, by T.L. Osborn, (Tulsa, OK: The Voice of Faith, Inc. 1953), pp. 180-181. Used by permission of People’s Church and the family of Oswald J. Smith. Written email letter of permission for TMMC dated 2004.