Thursday, February 21, 2008

One of the things that always intrigues me when I read the gospels is the compassionate nature of Jesus. Not only is this instructive and thought-provoking, but it is also convicting. In Matthew 9, we have another such occasion where Jesus demonstrates his compassion:

Matthew 9:36-38 36 And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 "Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."

The three principles I glean from this text are as follows:
I. We must have compassion for lost people.
I notice as I read Matthew's gospel that Jesus had compassion (9:36; 14:14; 20:34) on people who were in bondage to illness, distress, and, most of all, sin. It says in v.36 that Jesus saw the peopel and he felt compassion for them.

How often do we see people living in distress, caught in the grasp of their sin, struggling to live life without the gospel of Christ and yet we neglect to show compassion on these people who are in desperate need for the saving gospel of Jesus Christ?

The second principle I see from the text is:
II. We must shepherd the confused people.
How often we forget this -- even as "professional shepherds" by vocation. People that are in distress and dispirited are those whom Jesus had compassion on. How quick we are (speaking from personal experience here, sad to say) to neglect a helping hand, a gospel-driven conversation, a sacrificial gift to those who are in confusion.

Jesus recognized that he was the true and ultimate shepherd for the people. Shouldn't we do the same? Shouldn't we model the actions of our Master Shepherd and have compassion and pity on those in distress rather than a self-righteous and prideful arrogance refusing to associate with such sinners?

And finally:
III. We must be willing for God to send us into His harvest.
How quick we are to say "Amen" to the first few principles, but how many of us are really willing to go into the Lord's harvest? The harvest does not have to mean "overseas missions," though it can. It does not have to mean "Bible translation work," though it may. But what it means is that in your day-to-day life, you are going about in the Lord's earth showing this kind of compassion and shepherding by pointing (and warning!) people to the True Shepherd and His work done on Calvary for sins.

One thing I've been convinced at my time in seminary is this: I want to plan to go abroad and do missions but be willing to stay. It seems that oftentimes we have this reversed: I must plan to stay in America (comfy Christian lifestyle!) while willing to go abroad. I am convinced that the former is what us seminary guys ought to be convinced of.

May we look at our Savior and learn from our Master as to how we ought to have compassion for the lost, shepherd the confused and, finally, be willing for God tos end us into his harvest - anywhere.


Anonymous said...

excellent post, honey, especially for me as we are in the middle of Missions Week at Twin Oaks. Are you sure you don't want to come and give the keynote sermon on Sunday??
Praying for you this weekend, Mom

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