When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:36–38 NIV)
There are gut-wrenching moments in life, the kind when something hits you so hard it feels like someone’s ripping your insides out.
The apostle Matthew, in his biography of Jesus, suggests Jesus experienced such a gut-wrenching moment when he saw all the harassed and helpless human sheep. More than a mere broken heart, Jesus was moved to extraordinary compassion when he saw so many people beaten down by life, facing problems so overwhelming they didn’t even know where to go for help (Matthew 9:36).
In this moment, Matthew reports Jesus looked at his disciples and said, in effect, “I want your help with this. There are so many people who need relief—who need to know and experience God’s compassion—that I need you to help with this great harvest” (Matthew 9:37–38, author paraphrase).
Jesus calls us to join him in his work. Jesus calls us to pray that others will join us in this work. God fills us with his love and compassion so we can minister to those who are harassed, helpless and beaten down by life. We carry the good news that Jesus helps us overcome the heartache of our circumstances and tribulations.
Will you join Jesus in his work and see how God works through your obedience to him?
This devotional is based on Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ by Jon Walker.
Saddleback Resources offers a small group Bible study related to these devotionals: The Invisible War-Winning the Battle of Temptation.
Jon Walker is the managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotionals. © 2011 Jon Walker. Used by permission.