Monday, June 18, 2012

Where Compassion Leads

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”
(Mark 6:34 NIV)

“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)

Notice the two responses of Jesus when he felt compassion for the people because he saw that they were like sheep without a shepherd. In Mark 6, right before the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus has compassion on the shepherdess people and began to teach them many things. In that case, Jesus himself functioned as a laborer in the harvest field. He did not wait around for others to do things, but dove in and taught. While he was ministering to the multitudes (in this case teaching them; later feeding them), he was also involving and training his disciples so that they to would become laborers.

Later, in Matthew 9, the scriptures declare that Jesus felt the same compassion and saw again that the people were like shepherdess sheep. Here Jesus commands his followers to pray to God the Father (the Lord of the Harvest) and ask Him to send forth laborers. After that, Jesus sends the twelve out on a training exercise on their pathway to becoming the answer to those prayers.

All of us must be laborers in the harvest field. Why? Because Jesus was. It is not enough to say that I just raise up laborers, I must be one. However just being a laborer is not all that Jesus commands either. I need to be a person who is praying for laborers. And by God's grace I want to be an answer to that prayer. I want to be a person that God uses to train new laborers in the harvest field.

What does a laborer do? Well, he must address the shepherdess sheep problem. In my mind a laborer fulfills at least three biblical functions:

1. That of a shepherd
2. That of a priest
3. That of a farmer

A laborer works hard to bring all that a shepherd brings into the sphere in which God has placed him. He cares for the people, he gives leadership and protection. A laborer also functions as a priest, interceding for the people in his care and representing God to the people. Those are the two functions of a priest - going to God on behalf of the people and representing God to the people. Finally, a laborer acts as a farmer. Planting, watering, and harvesting for the Kingdom of God. That is planting the seed of the Kingdom (the Word of God) in the lives of people. Then watering the seed and cultivating it and looking to the Lord of the Harvest and working with him to bring many into the Kingdom of God (Harvesting).

So where does my compassion for people lead me?

Be a laborer
Pray for laborers
Raise up Laborers

What about you?

No comments:

Post a Comment