MATTHEW 9:35-38: “Jesus went to all the towns and villages. He taught in the synagogues and spread the Good News of the kingdom. He also cured every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. They were troubled and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is large, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord who gives this harvest to send workers to harvest his crops.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: What do I feel when I look at the world around me? Am I threatened because the majority of people don’t share my Biblical values? Am I repulsed at those who practice sin with a laissez-faire attitude? Am I angry with those who oppose traditional family values and don’t share my commitment to the sanctity of human life? Or, am I like Jesus, who when He looked over the crowds, was moved with compassion and empathy, and saw lost sheep who desperately needed a shepherd?
Jesus never expressed anger toward lost sinners. Jesus expressed anger toward the self-righteous and hypocritical religious people who disdained lost sinners, and actually hindered them from hearing the truth and having the opportunity to enter the Kingdom of God. When the Pharisees asked why Jesus ate with sinners, Jesus replied – “…Healthy people don’t need a doctor; those who are sick do. Learn what this means: ‘I want mercy, not sacrifices.’ I’ve come to call sinners, not people who think they have God’s approval.” (Matthew 9:35-38 GW)
If I am truly honest, I do not always view the world through Jesus’ eyes. I do not always reach out to the lost with Jesus’ heart. It is easier to hide in a circle of like-minded people that agree with you then to venture off into a sea of opposition. Yet, I really want to be like Jesus. I really want others to be like Jesus. I really want our church to be like Jesus. How can we accomplish this? Is there anything we can do that will turn our hearts outward to the lost with the true compassion of Jesus Christ?
First, we must open our eyes and “look” upon the crowds! This means we must get out of our comfort zone and into the real world. It is easy to hide in church, Bible study groups, small groups, and familiar circles of friends. It is quite another thing to get right into the middle of the harvest field of those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ, who don’t hold a Biblical world view, or who are not even interested in spiritual things at all! When we do this – something happens. Rather than being repulsed, angered, of driven to a judgmental attitude, we are filled with compassion. When we see the brokenness of a life without God, and knowing the blessedness of true fellowship with the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, we are compelled to share the wonderful Gospel with them.
However, if we never “go”…we will never “know”.
I remember one missions trip our church took to a very poor village of brick layers in Mexico. Most children did not have shoes. The homes they lived in were lean to cardboard shacks. They were of a religious tradition that fostered guilt and works righteousness, while leaving them in their poor condition. We had taken some teenagers who were from affluent families. When they saw their living conditions, the children without shoes, and the hopeless expression on so many faces, they were moved to tears and compassion. We passed out shoes, clothing, and Bibles. We were warmly received and the Gospel was presented to open and hungry hearts. And the lives of these teenagers were deeply imprinted with the compassion and love of Jesus Christ!
Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. We cannot motivate people to go into the harvest field through motivational speeches, videos, or guilt. Jesus told us what to do – “…So ask the Lord who gives this harvest to send workers to harvest his crops.” We must ask the Lord of the Harvest to move hearts and send His workers into the harvest. When the Lord pours out His Spirit in true revival it also is accompanied by His call to the harvest. Renewed hearts have renewed ears. Renewed ears hear the call of God.
The call of God is to “GO”!
Lord, bring revival to our churches. Lord, bring revival to our hearts. Lord, pour out Your Spirit upon us and gives us ears to hear Your call! Lord of the Harvest, send workers, send me, to reach the lost with the Good News of salvation and hope through Jesus Christ!
In Jesus Name!