Read Matthew 9:35-10:1
If you pause from your driven, task orientation long enough to do a little people watching, what do you see? What adjectives would you use to describe those scrambling around Walmart, seated at a restaurant, outside in your neighborhood, or gathered at a sporting event? Angry? Happy? Opinionated? Fed up? Comical? Lonely? Misguided? Hurting?
As Jesus went about His ministry, He was people focused. He recognized their need for the good news of the kingdom and shared it. He saw the pain they experienced in their bodies and healed it. Still, the adjectives and word pictures He used to summarize what He observed in people were “harassed, helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Is that an accurate description of those in your people watching experience? I will let you decide. Certainly, we must say that anyone without Jesus is helpless in that they do not recognize their source of real help and shepherdless in that they are not following the only Good Shepherd.
Christ’s observation of the condition of people led Him to two responses. First of all, it created in Him a longing in the deepest recesses of His life. This compassion was a yearning within that they might experience peace and help in Him as their shepherd.
But the second response was the sharing of a prayer request. He recognized that the spiritual harvest was larger than the harvesters at that time could possibly bring in. So, He invited His followers to pray. He asked them to invite God to release more workers so that the harvest could be brought in.
Let’s pose some pressing questions to help us to process the present-day implications of this account.
- Do you attempt to see people through the eyes of God, recognizing their desperate spiritual need?
- Does the reality of the lostness of those around you move you with a deep longing to see them come to faith in Christ?
- Are you praying that God would raise up people to join in the harvest?
There is one final interesting twist to the story here. Jesus ended up calling and sending the very ones He had asked to pray. The ones who pray for more people to share the Good News of Jesus must be sharing themselves. We all are harvesters. Who are you sharing with?