What do you see?

Church bulletin:

Matt 9:35-36, Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. (36) But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”

As our Lord Jesus travelled along the highways and byways, we are told that He was moved with compassion because He saw multitudes of people aimless, isolated, weary, spiritually malnourished, far from God. He likened them to sheep without a shepherd. Tired, thirsty, hungry, in need of rest and refreshment, but there was no-one to lead them. Of course, He is that good shepherd promised long before His ministry commenced. He would do what the corrupt leaders in Israel had failed to do – bring the people to God and care for them as under-shepherds. Ezekiel 34:23-24, I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. (24) And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.” The fulfilment of this prophecy takes us beyond David to David’s greater son. John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

Christ responds to the appalling state of the Jews. Matt 9:37-38, Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few. (38) Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.” It raises a couple of questions for us –

Firstly, as you journey through life, mixing with the unconverted, what do you see? Do you see people made in the image of God, far from Him and in desperate need of grace. People just like you before your eyes were opened, deserving of judgement. Do you, like Christ, see people lost and broken, sheep without a shepherd to lead them to living water? Let’s extend this to the church. As you rub shoulders with fellow believers, what do you see? Do you see brothers and sisters in Christ, loved dearly by Him, people who would be greatly blessed through someone reaching out to them with hospitality and fellowship and possibly practical helps?

Secondly, do you consider how you might respond to those around you? Christ tells His disciples to pray that God would send out labourers into the harvest. The disciples themselves were labourers, but so great were the numbers they couldn’t possibly minister to everyone. We are to pray for the salvation of the lost and for the growth and health of the church. Prayer is ground zero. But we cannot legitimately pray if we are not determined to do what we can as labourers. We must pray with a view that God will enable us to bring the Word of life to non-Christians. We must pray with a view that God will use us to be an encouragement to fellow believers.

Concern and compassion begin with what you see. You will either see people made in God’s image and important to Him. People who could be blessed in various ways as you take the time to reach out as His servant on His behalf. Or you will see people of little or no significance and you are content to leave them to God. They are His responsibility not yours. He will send someone better equipped or more qualified than you.

What do you see?