Seeking Sheep with Compassion – Week of June 29, 2020

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 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 9:35-38

In England, some villages are built with walled, narrow passageways for transporting sheep. These small alleys are so very narrow that there is only room for sheep to go through in single file. There is no escape so that sheep cannot accidentally go off the path and into danger. Sometimes these passageways even stretch across the entire town so that sheep can be led safely to pasture. Without these trails, sheep could be lost and scattered throughout the village.

God uses this illustration of sheep and a shepherd several times in the Bible. All of us are like the sheep, wandering the world and looking for the right path. The narrow path, like those in the English villages, is like God’s Word. When we read and study the Bible, we learn about Jesus, our Good Shepherd. Jesus is the only way to heaven.

Jesus had compassion on people because he saw how “lost” they were—“like sheep without a shepherd”. He knew that people were on their way to hell. He traveled through small towns and villages, healing the sick and preaching the good news that we are free from sin because of Christ. The disciples, Jesus’ followers and helpers, witnessed first-hand Jesus’ compassion for the people and the need for other “workers” to have this same love for God’s people. They were directly instructed to continue this work of compassion after Jesus died.

Jesus wants us to have this same love and compassion for others and also offers us the privilege of doing this work for him. We are serving Jesus by helping others, and we remember that Jesus doesn’t need us to do this work. Beware! The devil wants us to think that helping others learn more about Jesus is a chore, a burden. Not so! Jesus has all the power and could use other ways to bring people close to Him.

Jesus wants us to serve him by teaching others about his life death, and Easter resurrection. He wants us to help others become “workers in the field”, too. He creates that desire in our hearts as he shows us the same compassion as he did to those lost crowds. He renews our hearts through the healing message of his gospel. That forgiveness moves us to joyfully answer the call, “Here am I, send me”. May we serve our Lord by happily seeking other “sheep” for his kingdom.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, Our Shepherd,
Thank you for the privilege and joy that we have serving others. Help us to continue our work with compassion and understanding, that we may teach others about your saving love. Give us the strength and zeal to do your work throughout our whole life and until we see you in heaven. Amen.

A Question to Consider: In what ways can you show compassion to people God has placed in your life? How can you recruit workers to join you in serving others with compassion?

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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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