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Scripture Reference: Matthew 28:16-20
- Make disciples
- This is not optional
- You will never be alone
By Charlie Loften
Jesus was out with his disciples and he saw a huge crowd of people. He saw a lot of people and they had great need. What he told his disciples they needed to do is surprising.
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.”
Jesus saw all of these people in need. They were downcast and hopeless. They were “like sheep without a shepherd.” In response to seeing that great need, he turns to his disciples and acknowledges how great the need is and how few people there are willing to meet that need. What you would expect next is for him to say something like, “Therefore we have to go out there and help those people. Let’s go!”
However, in response to the overwhelming need, instead of making it a call to action, Jesus calls them to pray for more workers. Jesus, in the face of an incredible amount of helpless and hopeless people, asks not for more action out of his disciples, but for more disciples to help.
The world we live in is very different from the world Jesus lived in, in many ways. However, there is one way where our world is still very much the same. We are surrounded by incredible need. The world is downcast like sheep without a shepherd. There is overwhelming poverty, both physical and spiritual poverty, everywhere you go. Everyone sees this. The question is: what do we do about it?
Many of us are “do something” kind of people. But Jesus’s concept of do something is different than ours. His first call is not for labor, but for more people to labor. Here is one of the best illustrations of this that I have heard.
Imagine that your house is on fire. Once everyone is out, what is the first thing that you do? You first call for the fire fighters to come. You don’t put the fire out yourself. But what if you lived somewhere where there was no fire department to call? What would you do first? The smart thing to do would still be to call for help. Call anyone you can who could help and ask them to come over. The time spent not putting the fire out would be more than made up for in the multiple people working. In the face of an overwhelming problem, it needs to be all hands on deck.
So there comes a moment in our spiritual growth where we “get it” and understand how broken the world is and that God has called us to make a difference. What about us? Based on this passage from Matthew 9, what should we do?
First we should pray. This helps us to recognize that the bigger problem in what we see is always spiritual. People’s greatest need is spiritual in nature. It also reminds us that we desperately need God. Ultimately the world will heal as God uses us to make a difference. We can’t lose sight of “God uses” in that statement.
Second, we need to get more people involved. Don’t just serve the homeless, take someone with you to serve them. Don’t just serve in Grove kids, grab a friend and do it together. Start a small group with a friend and do it together. Take the passion and heart God has given you and give it to someone else. Now there are two of you. (Soon to be four as we continue the process)
God has called each of us to be a fully-devoted world-changing follower of Christ. He has called us to change the world. To do that, it will take all of us and many more of us that aren’t “us” yet. So as God is growing you and making you more aware of his call in your life, be mindful of the great need for even more laborers and take what God is giving you and give it away.
Questions to Ponder:
- What is a disciple?
- What steps do you need to take to become a disciple?
- What are the obstacles that are keeping you from helping others grow?
- How does the authority and presence of Jesus alleviate those concerns?