Day #7 Live with a Mission: Love
Read Matthew 9:35-38
I’ve not been to a high school reunion yet, but I don’t really feel like I need to go to one since I can see how much my friends have changed and how messed up they are in real time on facebook everyday. Since I wasn’t a believer in high school, not only do I wish that I could go back and have those years to do over again as a Christian, but I often think about how grateful I am that my life has been transformed by the grace of God and shudder to think how my life would have turned out apart from Christ. In the twenty years since graduation, I know I have been taken by God on a radically different trajectory than the self-centered pursuit of sin that I was on throughout high school and where my friends probably are still heading today. Apart from the grace of God, they are probably running each one in in his own way in pursuing sin.
When Jesus turned to the multitudes all around him, crowds of people just like me and my friends, he had compassion on them “because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Sheep without a shepherd don’t stay in a flock, they scatter each to his own way. All of our friends and relatives who are apart from Christ certainly live different lives, but their common quest is that they are each pursuing sin in their own way apart from a shepherd to guide them.
Think about how all around us, all of the time people are content to live their lives without even the slightest thought about Jesus, or how they might be saved, or how they ought to give God the praise for their life and breath and being. All around us people are going to through the motions of life without thought of God. Right now (literally) all around us people are living their lives how they want to live them. Were it not for the compassionate love of God, we would be doing the exact same thing! This should prompt us to love them and have compassion for them like Jesus has had compassion on us. But where do we start?
When Jesus had compassion on these sheep without a shepherd 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 9:37,38) Jesus knew there was no shortage of people who were wandering through life without knowing the true and living God and he had compassion on them and called his disciples to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest for laborers to be sent out into his harvest.”
Jesus says in two different ways that it is God’s harvest: first, that we are to pray to the Lord of the harvest and second, that it is “his” harvest. It’s God’s harvest field, he tells workers where to go in it, but he calls us to love and have compassion on people by praying that God would send out laborers to make the gospel known to them. He cares more about our friends and neighbors than do, but he is involving us and asking us to pray for laborers to be sent into his harvest field!
We can live with a mission by prayerfully asking God to send out laborers into his harvest field because He knows best where to send his people. But here’s the most challenging point for me— we will often be the answer to our own prayer! He has placed me in his harvest field where he wants me. I live where I live for a reason. If I am thinking about my neighbors and desiring to love them and have compassion on them like Jesus did and I am praying for God to send out laborers to reach neighbors for Christ then I better be ready to be the one that God has to speak the truth of the gospel to them. God will often use the prayers of his people to soften his people’s hearts and grow them in love and compassion for the lost.
Live with a Mission Today: Do you have compassion and love for those you live near or work with as Jesus had compassion for the multitudes around him? Pray today and ask God to increase your love and compassion for the lost around you. Ask God to send out laborers for the gospel into his harvest field in the area where you live— and be prepared to be part of the answer!