by Allison Martin
Then saith He unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.
Matthew 9:37 & 38
Help Wanted - that's a sign we’re seeing a lot of these days. All across the country, a shortage of workers is causing problems for every business, from retail to fast food. It seems that hardly anywhere is staffed to the point that they can reach their full potential. Case in point, I recently went searching for a Help Wanted sign to use for a chapel illustration, and there were none to be found. All the stores were sold out!
I believe, however, that this problem has plagued our churches much longer than it has plagued our nation.
I would guess that every ministry of your church could put that sign in their window: Help Wanted.
The problem of ministry has never been a lack of things to do, but of a supply of laborers who are willing and able to do them.
Judges 15 tells us the story of the renowned judge and leader in Israel, Samson. He was a man anointed by God to deliver his people. It is made evident by Samson’s later years that his power was a result of God’s Spirit that would come upon him. God would give Samson the power he needed to accomplish the task when he needed it, and not before.
The middle of this chapter gives us some insight into one of Samson’s more well known feats of strength. Three thousand of Samson’s own people betray him out of fear of their oppressors. When they present Samson to the Philistines, bound with new ropes, God does it again. Samson breaks through the ropes as though they are ashes, and goes to work on the enemy with the closest thing he can find: the jawbone of a donkey. By the time he’s finished, “heaps upon heaps” of the enemy lay dead at his feet. A thousand of them, to be exact. Here we get another glimpse at the utter humanity of Samson. He was completely exhausted. Actually, he felt he had come to the point of death.
I hope I’ve painted this picture where you can visualize it; otherwise, you’ll miss the craziest part. There are still three thousand men of Judah in this scene. We have no record that a single one of them reached for a sword or spear. Apparently none of them could even be bothered to find their deliverer a drink. So we see that Samson, the strongest man to ever live, stumbled under the weight of fighting all alone.
What happened that day could be considered a victory. But it was a victory that could have been so much greater.
God’s Word outlines a principle that if one man can chase off a thousand men, two men could put ten thousand on the run. The math doesn’t make much sense, but neither do the amazing results that happen when God’s people work together.
We will never know what could have been accomplished that day. Just one chapter later, we find God’s people in bondage again. If the men of Judah had rose up that day to fight alongside Samson, could they have destroyed their oppressors forever? Maybe. But that chapter of history has already been recorded in time, and it can never change. But it remains to be seen what could be done in your bus ministry or children’s church or youth group. They all cry for more laborers; may God send each of us as the answer.