9 July 2019
Jacob rose, and taking his two wives and his two slave-girls and his eleven children he crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream and sent all his possessions over too. And Jacob was left alone.
And there was one that wrestled with him until daybreak who, seeing that he could not master him, struck him in the socket of his hip, and Jacob’s hip was dislocated as he wrestled with him. He said, ‘Let me go, for day is breaking.’ But Jacob answered, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ He then asked, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob’, he replied. He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have been strong against God, you shall prevail against men.’ Jacob then made this request, ‘I beg you, tell me your name’, but he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ And he blessed him there.
Jacob named the place Peniel, ‘Because I have seen God face to face,’ he said ‘and I have survived.’ The sun rose as he left Peniel, limping because of his hip. That is the reason why to this day the Israelites do not eat the sciatic nerve which is in the socket of the hip; because he had struck Jacob in the socket of the hip on the sciatic nerve.
A man was brought to Jesus, a dumb demoniac. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke and the people were amazed. ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel’ they said. But the Pharisees said, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts out devils.’
Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.
And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’
The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.
If I am going to be really honest about what I pray for, I always pray for what I need and want, for my family members and friends, and for anyone else who specifically asked me to pray for them. I don’t really conscientiously pray for labourers to be sent to the harvest field; which is a bit ironic, because being involved in church ministry, I have experienced first-hand what it’s like not to have enough people helping out. This phrase just reminded me of what I should be praying for.
Besides praying for labourers, maybe we should ask God how he wants us to be labourers for him. Even a small bit of help counts. When we had our Confirmation Retreat for the youths, we had parents helping out with cooking meals. It was a big help. Each one of us has been gifted with talents and time which we can use build the church. More importantly, we are all given hearts to love one another – something I feel is more needed for a labourer.
My final point for this reflection is that God asked us to pray for labourers and not for someone to send money. Of course, funds are needed. But then, it just occurred to me to reflect on why God asked us to pray for labourers, and not for more funds. Well, God said that the harvest is rich. We are God’s treasures. We are the precious ones God wants to be gathered. And just imagine how much more can be done if God’s treasures have been gathered!
You pray for labourers to gather the harvest which produces more labourers who are able to gather more harvest and it goes on and on and on. It’s exponential growth!
So let’s pray for labourers. Just a short prayer can do miracles!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)
Prayer: Dearest Lord God, please remind me to always pray that there will be labourers to gather the harvest. And I pray for myself, too, so that I can be a happy labourer in your field!
Thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord, for the labourers you sent to harvest me. They were so awesome in bringing me to you!