“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt 9:35-38 ESV).
Last week, I was studying the discipline of service and this passage really resonated with me.
If you look back at it, you’ll note that Jesus SAW the crowds. He had COMPASSION for them.
He understood their great need. He knew they were hungry for the truth and were feeling helpless and harassed by the world around them.
Jesus saw them and He did something about it.
He didn’t excuse himself because He had other things to do or because He already had enough followers (or members).
He didn’t tell himself that someone else would take care of it.
He didn’t dismiss them as helpless or hopeless nor did He assume they had it all together.
No, He saw them and He had compassion. He knew they were broken, torn apart, beaten down, weak, worn out; He knew that life had been hard for them and that they probably felt dismissed and forgotten.
He knew they needed his love.
And He didn’t pass them by.
What He did was to see a need and to meet it. He took responsibility. He took action. He shared the Gospel and He healed every disease and affliction.
Now, Look toward the end of the passage. Jesus tells his disciples that there are still so many people in such great need of the truth, but there aren’t enough people willing to serve them.
Where are we? Where are the believers? Where are the servants of God? Why must the disciples pray for laborers?
Paul says we should “not be slothful in zeal” but “fervent in spirit” in serving our Lord (Rom 12:11 ESV).
This brings to my mind someone who wakes up every morning excited about what God is going to do through them that day; it is someone who looks at every piece of his or her life as an opportunity to serve; it is someone whose joy in life comes through seeing Jesus’ love proclaimed to a lost world.
Should we continue to pray earnestly for laborers? Certainly.
But let me ask you this:
Should it really even be necessary?
We know what to do and we’ve seen the perfect example of it.
SEE the need and MEET it.