Bible Reference: Matthew 9:35-38
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)
Bible Text: 35 Jesus traveled around through all the cities and villages of that area, teaching in the Jewish synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And wherever he went he healed people of every sort of illness. 36 And what pity he felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. 37 “The harvest is so great, and the workers are so few,” he told his disciples. 38 “So pray to the one in charge of the harvesting, and ask him to recruit more workers for his harvest fields.”
OBSERVATION: Having just returned from a visit to the Bahamas, I can check off my list for having attended church there, and having spoken to many individuals with various needs – both obvious needs and some that were buried deep behind their serious faces. But Jesus’ visit into the cities and villages seemed to have been with a lot more purpose, and He obviously observed a lot more than I did on my casual visit to the Bahamas. Let’s meditate on the things that concerned Jesus, so our eyes might be opened to more as we visit people and places.
APPLICATION: I feel like God got my attention through this Scripture today, because I was reminded how calloused I am about the needs around me. I love visiting new places, and often I will drive away from those places with things embedded into my memory, but in reflection, the things that I remember are so insignificant in the light of eternity, or in light of the needs of the people that I met in my travels. You see, restaurant or hotel staff will often respond to you with the usual courtesies that we would expect, but how insensitive we are to the hurt behind those sad eyes, or the aching body that they try very hard to hide from us. Let’s look closely at how caring, purposeful and deliberate Jesus was in this short story: 1). Notice that He was deliberate in sharing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. Imagine having missed an opportunity to tell folk about the love of Jesus, and the Kingdom that awaits each of us when we graduate to Heaven, when many are often burdened beyond their ability to bear it here on this earth; 2). Jesus saw the need for healing, and He not only said that He would remember them in prayer, or told them that He loved them, or wished them well, but He healed them of their afflictions. How are you doing with that friends? Do you pray for those who are sick when you visit them? Do you follow-up over the next few days to see if they are doing better? 3). He had pity on the folk that were hurting. Do you feel the pain of the people you come across, or do you casually brush it off by telling them that time will heal all wounds, or telling them about a situation you had that was much worse than theirs? 4). It seems like Jesus was really saddened that folk were just wandering around without any direction, or hope in their life. Friends, there are many like this in our world today, and we have the answer, tucked under our arms, in our glove compartment of the car, or on a table at home gathering dust. Jesus is the answer to all of this world dilemmas, complications and issues, but unless we share that with them, they too may wander around aimlessly, like sheep needing a shepherd. The most important thing about this Scripture is wrapped in the idea that Jesus went out… He went through… He saw the needs of….. and He ministered to… ALL that He came into contact with. We may never see the sick, the downtrodden, or the needy in our plush sanctuaries, but we know they are out there. Shall we imitate our Master and actually get up, get out, and meet their needs where they are? I believe that Jesus expects us to: GIVE, since we have been given; BLESS, since we have been blessed; LOVE, since we have been, and are always loved; SHARE, since we have been blessed with so much more than many we would meet. Let us aim to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus today dear friends!
PRAYER: Precious Lord, You rescued me from my sin and distress, and You placed me on a mission that will land me safe on the other side – heaven with You and the Father. Thank You Lord for Your wondrous grace and Your tender mercy. I pray that all who will read this devotional today may stand in worship and adoration, with arms raised, and hearts that are warmed, because they too know without a doubt that Heaven is their final destination. If there is the slightest doubt in the minds of any, please Lord, tender their hearts and call them to Yourself. Many who know You are not as compassionate as You are about the lost condition, and the hurt that exists in the hearts and lives of those in our own communities, and especially in the lives that we touch while out of town. We need You precious Lord. Your tenderness, Your forgiveness. Your humbleness. Your unconditional love for ALL Your children. Oh that the ‘church’ will be so sold out to You, that the lost in our areas of influence will see You in us, and believe in You. May You be glorified today oh Lord! AMEN!