Identifying as a Labourer
By Robin Dennis, from Compass, Spring 2018
The Navigators define a labourer as: “Ordinary people who are growing in their intimacy with Jesus and who are working in the harvest (living and discipling among the lost) with a generational mindset.”
To work in the harvest (living and labouring among the lost) with a generational mindset, we need to have an objective; an objective to introduce a person to Jesus, relying on the Holy Spirit to draw that person to God. In How to Give Away Your Faith, Paul Little wrote:
“It is the Holy Spirit … who converts an individual…Let us never naively think that we have converted a soul and brought him to Jesus Christ…No one calls Jesus ‘Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.”
Not every Christian is a gifted evangelist. But every Christian should be taking active and intelligent steps to seek lost souls and bring them to Christ. The task of winning men and women for Christ is one of the greatest privileges—and greatest responsibilities—that God has entrusted to us.
Scott Brown put it well: “All followers of Christ (believers) are to be labourers. It is not the work of a few believers, but it is to be the natural outworking (by-product) of those who follow Christ…There is no distinction (difference) between a disciple and a labourer. Labourers are disciples, disciples are labourers … Labouring is the norm, not the exception.”
As a labourer, some basic signs of the Christian life are evident:
1 The Lord Jesus Christ is preeminent in me; that is, in making decisions in all areas of life I look to Jesus for guidance.
2 The word is in my heart and changing my life; I am reading the Word daily, I am memorising the Word, I am studying it, I am meditating on it, I am claiming promises for my life, I am sharing the Word and I am putting into practice applications from the Word.
3 I desire His continuous fellowship; I spend time in His Word daily, I pray, I study the Word, I apply it, and I am a doer not just a hearer.
4 His concern for the world is my concern; I see the world is in desperate need of His grace and love, I am forming loving friendships with others, I am witnessing to others, I am praying for others and I am in Bible study with others.
5 I love the brethren and am in unity with them; I put others before myself, I seek fellowship with others, I chew over scriptural principles with others and I share the word with others.
As labourers we pass on these five principles to the next generation, and then these disciples pass them on to the next generation, who pass them to the next and so on. Generational ministry is scriptural (Deuteronomy 6:1-3, Psalm 78:4-7, Joel 1:3, and 2 Timothy 2:2). And Matthew 28:18-20 talks about a continual passing on of Jesus’ commands.
Building relationships with others can take time. It is necessary to win the right to speak about Jesus to our friends, and hospitality plays an important part. A labourer knows the great need for others to come into a relationship with the living God, for them to understand these three things: “Who is Jesus Christ?”, “What is the work of Jesus Christ?” and “What does it mean to have Eternal Life in Christ?” Importantly, achieving the objective of reaching a person for Jesus must be done in love. How I communicate reflects my life; what I communicate reflects my understanding; and when I communicate reflects my sensitivity to people’s needs.
To establish the new Christian as a mature Christian, get them deeper into the word of God, show them how to read and study the Bible, how to meditate, to memorise, to pray and how to present their testimony. Give them tools to enable them to continue building, show them resources and illustrations. Do things together such as attending a conference or listening to a talk. Give them attainable assignments: read a short passage of scripture each morning or memorise one verse a week. Don’t be afraid to repeat things: “He tells us everything over and over…one line at a time…a little here, a little there!” (Isaiah 28:10 NLT).
Remember: Tell them why; Show them how; Get them started; Keep them going; and get them to reproduce all this in another’s life.
My life verse is Isaiah 60:22 (NIV) “The least one shall become a thousand…”. God has given me a Paul (helping me to be a fruitful disciplemaker), a Barnabas (with whom I have a David-Jonathan relationship), and a Timothy (whom I have helped to become a fruitful disciplemaker). Who are yours?