Many of the pickers in an apple orchard I recently visited were migrant workers from the Caribbean. A local strawberry grower routinely brings in help from Mexico. The same happens in market gardens, vineyards, and farms throughout Canada and the US. Our harvests depend on the help from beyond our borders.
Agricultural work tends to be hard, tedious, and even dangerous. Laborers work long hours for relatively modest pay. Fortunately for the rest of us, migrant workers pitch in to do work many of us are unwilling to attempt. As a result, our lifestyles are enriched. So I was gratified this year to see that, in recognition of their contribution to our local community, our church held a special dinner honoring migrant workers.
But I was surprised to read that Alabama has enacted very strict anti-migrant legislation. As a result, Alabama “farmers are staring at crops that no native-born American wants to pick. Most of their Hispanic workers have fled…’You can’t get legal workers,’ a blueberry farmer named Connie Horner told the Associated Press.”
In spite of high unemployment, there always seems to be a shortage of farm workers. The same can be said about workers in the Kingdom of God. Particularly now, and especially in North America, volunteers for full-time missionary service are few. Surely, every believer who peruses his or her Bible should feel the heart-beat of Jesus. “When Jesus saw the crowds, he 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” (Matt. 9:36,37).
Fortunately, indigenous missionaries from the young churches of Africa, Asia and South America are responding the need. But they can’t do it all themselves. They need help. They need western brothers and sisters who will give themselves to love and be spent for the kingdom. Oh, it will be hard and sometimes dangerous work, but the rewards are unbelievable. So let’s redouble our prayers for full-time missionary volunteers. [For books by the writer see http://www.countrywindow.ca]