Having grown up in the Midwest, the image of stalks of wheat heavy with grain is also familiar and dear to me. I have been thinking about fields ripe for harvest a lot as I am gathering information on local jail and prison ministries. My personal view is this: jails and prisons are crumby places at the best of times, some are soul searing and all are boring. If we can not offer God's love where there is so little hope, so much shame and no small amount of guilt, then when can we?
When we offer programming for the incarcerated many come from boredom. Too few feel that looking into the face of God would be a good thing, or no one is excited about the idea that God knows their true self. So we leverage boredom and an interest in cookies into an opportunity to speak hope, healing, redemption, restoration, renewal and a productive future to folks who often have desperately little hope that they might be able to find a better way.
Please pray for those ministering to the incarcerated, working with the newly released, teaching life skills and new ways of thinking, mentoring and generally following Jesus' directive in Matthew 9:36-38: When he saw the crowds, he (JESUS) had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 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.”
Won't you be like Jesus and have compassion on the lost? write a letter of encouragement? grade Bible study papers? bake cookies? be a mentor? be a team member to visit inside? be a team member to console and tend the family members? serve on a board? write a check? remember to pray regularly?
Indeed the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.