After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Luke 10: 1-2)
This account, found only in Luke, shows Jesus being strategic in his ministry, sending off seventy (or seventy-two, the manuscript evidence varies on the exact number) as an advance team to the towns and places he intended to go.
Jesus asked these people to pray God would send others to labor in God’s “harvest,” as God’s kingdom message spreads. And God answered this prayer–the message did spread, throughout Judea, throughout the Roman world, and, over time, throughout the whole world.
With population increase, though, the need to spread the message of the good news is still vast. According to the US Census Bureau, there were between 170 million and 400 million people alive in the world when Jesus spoke these words. In other words, this wsa the size of the harvest when he called it “plentiful.”
The Bureau estimates the current world population is approximately 6.5 billion; Adherents.com estimates 2.1 billion of these are Christians. In other words, there are at least eleven times as many people who do not follow Jesus’s way alive now as when he first started preaching.
Lord, there is so much work to be done, please send laborers to the plentiful harvest. Thank you for spreading the gospel message throughout the world, that it reached even me.