Archive for June 25th, 2007

Do You See What I See?

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Matthew 9:35-38 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Deb Doty):

Jesus was at the height of his ministry, traveling, teaching, and healing. Everywhere he went he proclaimed the good news of God’s kingdom. And yet everywhere he went—no matter how much he taught, no matter how many people he healed—everywhere he looked, he was confronted with even more need.

Matthew tells us Jesus had compassion for the people because they were harassed and helpless. To him, they looked like frenzied sheep, darting here and there, running into each other, bleating their heads off in frustration and confusion because there was no shepherd to calm them and lead them into safe pastures. Jesus saw this insanity and was deeply moved.

So, what did Jesus do? Did he say to himself, “Jesus, you’re their shepherd — you’ve just gotta kick it into high gear and do more!” Did he decide that maybe if he skipped his lunch and shortened his long quiet times he’d have more hours to squeeze in another healing or two and an extra sermon?

No, Jesus stood there watching the chaos, when suddenly the crowds of wayward sheep seemed to transform into a huge wheat field, with heads of grain — full, ripe, and golden—swaying as the breeze tousled them. And Jesus turned to his disciples, his heart full of love and longing, and said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” And if we read on into chapter 10, we see that Jesus sent the twelve disciples out, two-by-two, to do exactly what he’d been doing. (And in Luke’s gospel, we’re told that later Jesus sent out 70 disciples.) He multiplied his efforts by entrusting the work to his followers. Those followers were blessed with the opportunity to share in Jesus’ work.

Look around you. What do you see? Do you see frenzied people? Are they harassed and helpless? Do they sometimes bite at each other like frightened animals? Look again. They are the harvest of God. But unless enough farm workers come, the harvest will rot in the field and never make it safely to the silo. So, ask God to send laborers. And if you are one of Jesus’ disciples today — someone who follows Jesus as Lord — get ready to join the farmhands! There is so much to be done!

Thought for the day: Ask God, “Where can I serve best in the harvest?”

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: The children who are taking part in Vacation Bible School, which begins today.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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