by Rev. Matthew Harrison
“He [Jesus] had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘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’ ” (Matt. 9:36–38).
No institution or human factor of the LCMS has been more significant in the spread of the pure Gospel of Jesus and His grace than our two seminaries. Most of us, when considering the work of the St. Louis and Fort Wayne seminaries, have the domestic scene in mind. Many LCMS people think of the seminaries only when it’s time to call a graduate. And that is significant in its own right!
But the seminaries are a resource for the worldwide spread of the Gospel and the strengthening of the Lutheran church around the globe. This happens through the training of missionaries and in the training of students from around the world. It is critical that both seminaries retain strong residential master of divinity programs. These are the foundations that also allow for strong graduate-studies programs. For decades, students from all over the world have come to study at our schools. They have returned vastly strengthened in knowledge and passion for the Gospel and
have had a profound effect upon churches worldwide.
There is a moment of opportunity that is opening wide before us. The Lord is answering our prayer: “Pray the Lord of the harvest sends workers.” And He’s answering it in a very significant way. There is no other Lutheran church body in the world that combines fidelity to the Gospel and all its articles as confessed in the Book of Concord with the remarkable capacity and worldwide reach of the LCMS.
It is time to increase vastly the number of international students at our seminaries, not just students studying to become pastors but pastors who are church leaders and future leaders, professors and seminary instructors, in short, the future leaders of world Lutheranism.
Great, solid, Lutheran education that is completely committed to the inerrant Scriptures and the teachings of Luther are the gift and vocation of the LCMS. Our seminaries have been doing this for decades and very successfully too! It’s time to provide this opportunity for many more around the world. Funding this effort is an aid to domestic students because tuition assistance keeps costs lower for all students. Having our students rub shoulders with international students opens their eyes to mission opportunities at home and around the world.
We have matching funds for this effort. If you or your congregation want to help, call either seminary, go to lcms.org/projects or call 1-888-930-4438. And join me in praying the Lord of the harvest sends workers.
If we therefore want to show true mercy to the world and to those around us, doing the most important work of Christian mercy, then we must educate and send out teachers of the Gospel. That is also taught in our text. Our text reports that while Christ taught, He also healed all sorts of illness among the people. But when He sums up the desperate situation of the people and places it before our eyes, He does not say, “Pray to the Lord for doctors.” He says rather, “Pray to the Lord that He send workers,” that is, teachers and preachers, “into His harvest.” It is not that the Christian should not be merciful also over against physical need, but rather because He desires to emphasize that they do the most important work of Christian mercy in the preparation and sending out of teachers of the Gospel.
Pastor Matthew Harrison
“Let’s go!” | Mark 1:38
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