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. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35-39 NIV
An aspect of Jesus’ life that is easy to overlook, is that “he walked” to most of the places that he visited. Sometimes we read that he got in a boat to go to another place, but his primary mode of transportation was to walk. His normal stroll was not on sidewalks or beautiful park pathways, but on dusty, rocky, hilly, and dry roads. He daily endured the harsh elements and rough terrain. This walking would be fatiguing to the body, yet His travel was slow enough (everyday) for him to smell the roses and see the need.
In verse 36 of today’s verse, we read that “Jesus saw the crowds”. When did He see the crowds? Did he just look over the countryside and think, “wow, these are some messed up people?”(greg’s translation). No, in verse 35 we read that Jesus “went through all the towns and villages” (he walked). His pace was slow enough that he had time to stop and teach in the synagogues, take time to touch and heal those who were sick, purchase food in the market, laugh at humorous situations, and enjoy walking barefoot along the Sea of Galilee. His pace was similar to the “Circuit Riders” among early American ministers. This slowness of life allowed Jesus to have is heart warmed to needs of the people.
What did He notice? All were harassed and helpless. All were in need of a shepherd. And the realization of this need evoked such a response that Jesus told his disciples to “Ask the Lord of the Harvest”. Our response would be to develop a plan first, try to “figure” out what’s the problem and how we could “fix it”. Yet Jesus asked us to pray.
Let me reverse the thinking…if we are not praying much for the multitudes…we probably are not moved with compassion…because we are not “seeing” the needs of the people. Ouch, that’s stepping on my toes too.
So, let us choose to pray first before fixing things. ”Lord, open my eyes to see the needs of the people”. May we see their physical needs, but also their spiritual, emotional, relational, and financial needs. Begin asking the Lord for you to have ears to hear and eyes to see the needs that are around us. Let’s ask God to send forth workers and then tell Him that He can use us first. May there be an eruption of intercession as we begin praying for those who are hurting among us.
What if God is inviting us to participate in reaching out to others? What if God is ready to move, as soon as we ask Him to begin to change the events in people’s lives? Jesus told us to “Ask”, so let’s start asking.
In the past, my daughter and I have sold Game Day programs before UA football games. We will see close to 90,000 people come to watch their favorite team. We enjoy spending time together, but there is another reason to we endure the heart. We get the opportunity for 4-5 hours to walk among the multitudes. We see families, singles, lonely, happy, intoxicated, children and college students who are in need of a Savior. I am close enough to look into their eyes. Under my breath, I am praying that they will experience someone introducing them to Jesus.
Will you join me in “walking” our city? Will you pray for God to impart His heart of compassion for the lost to you? Will you ask God to help you see the multitudes (maybe your neighbor) as sheep without a shepherd? Will you adjust the attitude of your heart to say, “here am I, send me”?
God loves you a whole bunch
Blessings Love y’all