Summary: Jesus gives us a picture of the world being ready for a great spiritual harvest, but in need of laborers to gather it into the barns. He urges the disciples to pray that the Lord of the harvest, who is Jesus Himself, will send forth the workers to gather it.
Title: Outward, Inward, Upward
Text: Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. (Matthew 9:38)
Scripture Reading: Matthew 9:35-38
I have never been out of the USA, but I have heard that traveling in other countries is often an overwhelming experience.
The reasons for that are the over-population and the great poverty that seems to be everywhere.
The city of Delhi, India, for example, has a larger population than all of New England.
Mexico City’s population is around twenty million.
Manila has over ten million people.
Many of these over-populated areas have “squatter villages” near city dumps where inhabitants scavenge food.
How should we respond to these desperate situations?
Our government often throws money at the problem through the foreign aid program.
On the other hand, we don’t have to go outside our borders to find similar conditions; they are here, they are local and they are very personal.
Every day, people around us are in crisis.
So, the question is, “What can we do to help?”
Jesus gives us the answer in today’s text; Matthew 9:36-38.
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.
38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Jesus gives us a picture here of the world being ready for a great spiritual harvest, but in need of laborers to gather it into the barns.
He urges the disciples to pray that the Lord of the harvest, who is Jesus Himself, will send forth the workers to gather it.
Have you noticed that very often it happens that those who pray end-up being sent themselves?
I had a friend by the name of Melvin who prayed for someone to help me in children’s church.
God answered his prayer; He said, “Melvin you’re the one.”
I think God wanted to use him there all along, but Melvin had to pray and ask before God would let him know.
The Lord Jesus told His disciples, there are three ways that people will respond to the needs of others.
They will have an OUTWARE RESPONSE, or an INWARD RESPONSE, or an UPWARD RESPONSE.
That’s today’s message.
We are going to look at each of these responses, since we may react in one or more of these ways when we face hard times, or when we see others suffering and in need.
Let’s begin with Our Outward Response (v.36).
Jesus was affected by what he saw, and he was sorry for them.
We red, “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”
The word compassion means to “suffer alongside.”