Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Matthew 9:38 NKJV
After my dad, Dr. Walter (Bud) Bruce, former president of Wesley College, (where I was also
president for twelve years) went to be with the Lord, Sandie and I stopped by to have an evening
prayer time with my mom. We were carrying on a family tradition Mom and Dad started at the
beginning of their marriage. Of course, our thoughts were on Dad and the rich legacy of love and
the true Christ follower role model he had left us. I remembered that, shortly after graduating from
high school, while he was not yet a Christian, he made a covenant with God one day as he lay in a
culvert while a tornado passed over him. He prayed, Lord, if youll spare my life, Ill go to church
Sunday and become a Christian. He did so the next Sunday. Against that backdrop, I read Matthew
9:3538, which closes with, Pray the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out laborers into his harvest.
Mom told us a story that happened a few days after his culvert prayer. He heard his pastor preach on this
verse, and a few days later, he was reading this passage in the Bible in his own devotional time. This
became a daily practice for him, for all who knew him, knew him as a devoted man of prayer and the
Word, and he began praying earnestly, in response to the ministers message, Lord, send forth
workers into the harvest! As he continued interceding before the Lord, God spoke clearly to his
inner spirit, saying, Bud, I want you to be a worker in my harvest. I want you to be a minister of the
gospel. And Bud said, Yes, Lord!
God often does things like that, like calling an extremely bashful, exceedingly timid, painfully
shy young man from the backwoods of Louisiana into the ministry. He went to Gods Bible School
in Cincinnati, where he met Mom. Who would have thought God destined him to serve as college
president, pastor, general conference president, and director of missions? To influence the lives of
hundreds of people to serve as pastors, evangelists, and missionaries? To leave a legacy that would
shape the church and people for many years to come? After retirement, at age seventy-one, he
pastored a country church until his death at age eighty-two. Only God could have thought such
things, for only God could enable such a ministry to happen.
That vision for ministry, born in an intimate relationship with God, continues beyond his
lifetime today through hundreds of Christian ministers, trained at Wesley College, who are faithfully
working in Gods harvest fields. Buds legacy continues through three children and their spouses, his
grandchildren and great grandchildren, who serve (or will, as they grow up) in Gods harvest in
various vocational or lay ministries.
When Jesus said, Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest, the word pray, in
this context, does not mean to just kneel down and pray, but to attach yourself to the request you are
making to God. Its like saying, Lord, send people out into the harvest. And if you want to send me, I
am available. Bud Bruce attached himself to his prayers, and God multiplied his ministry in ways that
are rare among men. The words of a song I wrote echo this commitment: Lord, Ill go where you
want me to go. Lord, Ill do what you want me to do. Lord, Ill say what you want me to say. Lord,
Ill be what you want me to be.
Lord, I want to be there with yougoing where you lead me, accomplishing what you commission me to do, saying
what you empower me to communicate, becoming all you created me to be. Lord, keep me attached to my prayer: send
out laborers into your harvest, and use me as one of them. Im available. Use me as you wish.
– Dr. Sam Bruce, President, Sam & Sandie Bruce Ministries; Pastor, Hope Point Church, Pearl,
Mississippi; Online Instructor, Mid-America Christian University