Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:35-38)
I am so grateful to have a shepherd. As Matthew records Jesus’ thought here, the natural state of most people is “harassed and helpless” — a very bad combination: in trouble and not able to do anything about it. A relationship with Jesus gets us two valuable services: protecting us from some of the harassment of life and helping us deal with the rest. Jesus has a harvest plan that just needs workers. I have a regular prayer list and the second half of it is all about places and institutions I’m praying for God to send workers to (or for strength for the ones already there). If we have Jesus’ compassion for the crowds around us, our prayer should also be for workers to bring them in under his protection and help. As Matthew found out, we may be the very worker we are praying for.
Lord, I realize that to you the crowds of harassed and helpless people are fields ready for harvest. Send out your workers. Send out me. Amen.