“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.”
In August of 2003 I started a 10 year career at SanMar. For those of you not familiar with the company, they sell blank clothing goods and accessories to screen printers and embroiderers for marketing purposes. You can visit their website at sanmar.com if you are really curious. I started out in sales working on the phones making sure my list of customers was well taken care of, and moved into the IT department after a while helping support the website and various other programs used by the company. It was a good place to work that supported my family and I and allowed me to be home with my wife and kids and be a part of their lives as a good husband and father.
During ten years of working at one company I got to know many people and some of them very well. I quit working at SanMar in November of 2013 but I’ve continued to maintain relationships with some people over the last year. I felt that if I was able to create relationships over ten years that I should at least try to maintain them and not simply “check out” because I was no longer with the company. These relationships are what prompt me to write this post.
The verse I placed above is one that is often seen during missions conferences or in the slides of missionaries to foreign fields presentations during the updates they provide to supporting churches. It is a great verse. It is a verse we should take seriously and think about with reference to whether or not God is calling us overseas. I think we need to look at this more fully though.
There is a ripe harvest here at home as well. There are workers that are needed here at home. Those workers don’t fit into one category of those with seminary degrees and Bible College backgrounds. The workers in this harvest field can be any one of us. In fact, most of us are currently employed by the very harvest we are trying to reap. I spent ten years trying to lay foundation with people I worked with so I could share Christ with them. I tried to lay those foundations to a fault. I wanted everything to be perfect, set up just right so that when I shared Christ we would have an open and comfortable conversation about Jesus and their need for him. For a great many people I worked with that time never came. For some it did and I shared.
Over the last week I have been contacted on two separate occasions and informed that people I used to work with died suddenly and unexpectedly. Leann Coker and Sam Gardener. Sam sat no more than 3 feet away from me for 2 ½ years. We talked many times about many things. We laughed, we cheered the US team during the World Cup in 2010 and we talked about God.
Leann worked on the same team as I did for about a year. I didn’t talk with her as often as I did with Sam because we didn’t sit near each other but we spoke at least once a week. We never had a conversation about Christ except maybe at a very high level.
The deaths of these two people have struck me how we must be bold in our sharing of our faith in Christ with others. We think we have all of the time in the world but we do not. Sam was joking with my former boss on Monday about the Seahawks and Giants game (my former boss is originally from New York) and did not come in to work on Tuesday morning because he had passed away. It was that quick. No long hospital stays, no disease that slowly ate away at him causing us all to expect his passing to happen soon. He was happy and laughing on Monday afternoon and gone Monday evening. I shared the gospel with Sam four times when I worked with him. He never made a statement of faith but his beliefs are between he and God. I hope he reconciled himself to God before Monday evening.
Most of us are blessed to be employed into and by the very harvest we are trying to reap. Don’t let’s fail to be bold in our sharing of Christ to that harvest. We spend eight hours a day with them and grow to know and care about these people and we have an opportunity to love them as Christ did. If we just let Christ shine through us we can see a change in our businesses and work places that can grow and carry into our country.
In memory of Leann Coker and Sam Gardener.