The Laborers are Few: Pondering Our “Yes”

The Laborers are Few: Pondering Our “Yes” July 9, 2013
Fr. Greg Friedman, O.F.M.

I’m in the regular habit of watching the daily gospel reflection videos from the USCCB as a part of my morning prayer time. So many days, these simple two minute ponderings truly bring the gospel to life for me. Such is always the case on Tuesdays, when I hear from one of my favorite preachers, Fr. Greg Friedman, O.F.M.

Fr. Greg likely has no idea how often I listen to his words and say, “Yes!” I’ve had the sincere pleasure of meeting him a few times in person, and have always been too shy to share how much his preaching lights me up. I also have the sense that he’d be far too humble to accept my praise.

Today’s video is a must watch. I can’t embed it here, so you need to follow this link and view it there. I definitely recommend that you read today’s gospel from Matthew 9 before your viewing. I’ve read this passage countless times, with an eye towards the gospel’s ending:

Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Fr. Friedman caught my attention by starting his reflection with a scenario I often face: when dealing with “feedback”, I far too often dwell on the negative remarks. Somehow hearing Father Greg say he does the same makes me feel a bit better. He goes on to elucidate how Jesus overcame the most negative of “evaluation” forms and how he “just goes on working – he has no time for his opponents.”

Praying over this reflection, the gospel’s call to duty (“the laborers are few“) and my own mission, I had to admit to myself how often my pride keeps me away from answer Christ’s call. Sometimes, I let my self doubt stand in the way of my “yes”. Other times, my pride — the sense that I don’t have what it takes to do things “right” so I won’t do them at all — makes me a non-starter.

But here, the commission is clear: we’re all called, just as we are.

We can each look around us and name five “laborers” who are more talented, more able, holier than ourselves. We can pass the buck or wait until being a “laborer” is convenient.

Or we can stop, pray for God’s grace in our humility, and say yes to the task at hand. If you’re in doubt, wavering about your answer, watch the video all the way through to Fr. Friedman’s conclusion:

“People sometimes misunderstand what we do, or even criticize unfairly, but the work of the kingdom must continue and we must follow humbly in the Lord’s footsteps.”

There are your marching orders for today.

A question for you: Do you shy away from being a “laborer” for the harvest? What keeps you from fully engaging, from giving your “yes” to God’s call for your life?

"Only good things are to come!! Saying yes is the best. See you around, friend."

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  • BethanneB

    Lisa, thanks for this great resource! I don’t imagine you remember me, but I was the crazy gal who sent you a letter letting you know I’m praying for you. I’m still praying and I’m actually looking forward to perhaps seeing you face to face again at the family conference in Wichita in August! God bless–Bethanne

  • Elizabeth

    Great article, Lisa! For me a negative comment on my Catholic blog would be better than no comment at all…chuckle. However, as Fr. Friedman wrote, the work of the Kingdom must continue. In either of our scenarios, we just have to follow in Jesus’ footsteps! To answer your question, “what keeps” me from fully engaging as a laborer? Nothing! Not but a handful of comments on my Scripture reflections since 2006, but my YES continues! My today’s “laborers” post here… Blessings, Elizabeth

  • Paz y bien ,

    Gracias Lisa, la oración ha de ser el fundamento de nuestra vida.

    Saludos desde España.

  • Lisa Mladinich

    Thank you, Lisa! I think we all wince at criticism. It’s so hard to let it go, but over the long haul we benefit from the more constructive kind. Thanks for the video link! Is this something we can subscribe to?

  • Nancy Ward

    This is an incredible resource for daily inspiration but the real treasure is you and your Yes to The Lord. The first comment I got on my blog was negative, in fact it was a personal attack so I was duly initiated. I have to remind myself that my outreach in whatever form it takes is for those the Lord has prepare for my unique message. If I am rejected then it is he who is rejected as I come in his name.

  • Michelle

    Thank you for this post. I read these readings a day early and was pondering the call to all of us to labour for the harvest. I will look at the video you suggest next, but wanted to thank you for encouraging those of us who feel a call that they feel inadequate to fulfill. As I shop around my first children’s novel, I feel so half hearted about not being C.S. Lewis or George MacDonald that I can hardly see the point. And yet at some level, I believe I was called to write the story and ought to be humble enough to be grateful that it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and sally forth from there.
    Thanks & God bless –