I shared last Monday that the mission of Jesus is to reach the world through ordinary men who are compassionate, prayerful, and obedient. As I continue my preaching series through the book of Matthew, I have reached a section where we see Jesus sending out His men for ministry. While there are some aspects of this commissioning that applied only to these men, there are others that certainly do apply to all followers of Jesus.
As I walked through this passage, there are many things that impacted me personally. For one thing, I am fairly sure that I do not always come across compassionate for others. But there is something in my heart that moves me to relationship and service of other people. Jesus' compassion is generally thought of as warm and fuzzy. But I'm not sure it was. His compassion was seen towards those that were sheep without a shepherd. His heart broke over the people that were being condemned by the religious community by rules and regulations not taught by God. My heart is continually moved by those that do not hear the teaching of God's truth for their life. And that moves me to ministry.
In this passage, I could also talk about how I was impacted by the principles Jesus teaches when He sends the twelve men out. He teaches them to be dependent upon God. That is something I need to learn more and more.
But there was one aspect of this that came as a great wake up call for my life. Jesus tells His followers that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. I'm sure most of us have heard that before. There is a great harvest waiting to be gathered in, but there are few people to do it. When He says that, what is your natural reaction? Mine is to say, "Let's go. Let's get busy for the work of the Kingdom. Let's enlist more and more people to go out into the field and start harvesting." And at some level, each of those things are needed for the mission. It's just, that's not what Jesus says we are to do.
Because the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few, our response should be to first and foremost . . . PRAY! Jesus doesn't say that the harvest is huge and the workers are few, so go! He says the harvest is plentiful and the workers are needed, so pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out the laborers into His harvest. That is something that I fail to do. Maybe it is because I am too self-reliant or dependent upon my own gifts and calling, but I fail to pray for the harvest like I should.
Why pray? I think for two reasons. For one, God blesses the prayers of the righteous. He takes our prayers and answers them. But for another reason, God often changes the hearts of those that pray. I wonder what would happen if someone spent serious time crying out to the Lord each day for the salvation of those in their community and around the world? My guess is that if you cried out to the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into His harvest, you might just find God moving in your heart to be the answer to your own prayers.
There were many other things I talked about on Sunday. If you want to listen to the sermon or read my notes, you can find them HERE.