Summary: We are chosen by God to become workers in the fields for God to reap a great harvest among the lost.
Why Were You Chosen
Have you ever been chosen for something that caught you completely off guard and you were surprised by it?
One day a man by the name of Saul went looking for his father’s donkeys that had been lost. Today he would have been a recruit for the NBA because he was a head taller than anyone else. But basketball had not been invented then so Saul was just an ordinary guy. He had no idea, that going out and looking for some donkeys, would end up with him running into the prophet/priest Samuel and him eventually being crowned king of a nation. Saul was so shocked that he was chosen, that he hid among some bags hoping they might choose someone else.
The nation of Israel was in a period of relaunching itself. It was moving from a form of government in which the priests were in control with God leading them, to a form of government in which they would have an earthly king like the other nations.
God chose Saul to lead them in this relaunching as a nation. Saul was somewhat afraid because he knew he was going to be asked to do things he had never done before. God is going to require us to do some things we’ve never done before.
Jesus came into this world to relaunch the ministry of the Jewish people to the world. You may recall, when God called Abraham and Sarah who was the first Jewish couple, he told Abraham that through him, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. God chose the Jews to help the world understand who God was, what God required, and how God reacted toward his people.
Somewhere along the way, the mission of reaching the world for God got lost, and keeping all kinds of laws and regulations related to Jewish religious, feasts, festivals and way of life had taken center stage. Laws became more important than ministering to people. Not only had they forgotten about those who were not Jews, they were overlooking some who were Jews.
Jesus relaunched God’s ministry, by putting the focus back on the people. He went through many towns and villages preaching the good news about God’s love for them and healing every disease and sickness he encountered. The word tells us in Matthew 9:36, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
If you had seen that crowd that day, many of the people would have considered themselves doing fine and having a great time in life. They only showed up to see Jesus because there was nothing else that exciting going on. Who knows, Jesus just might do a miracle. He might even say something worthwhile. They weren’t thinking of themselves as being lost spiritually. After all they were God’s chosen people.
If you looked at the crowd as a whole, they would have seen pretty united. No different than the crowd you’d see at a political rally, a Cav’s game, a concert or even a church service. Yet Jesus saw what they looked like beyond their united appearance. The verse says , “ He had compassion on them.”
The word compassion literally means, “to be moved in the heart.” When you actually have compassion on someone, you actually do something on their behalf. Many of the people in that crowd were convinced they were on their way to heaven, but Jesus saw them as lost sheep, harassed by sin and loneliness, with no one to show them the way. Because they had no shepherd, Jesus went the route to become their shepherd. He did two things.
The first was to deal with the problem of a sinful nature in their lives and in all of our lives. He did that by choosing to pay the penalty for our sin so that we can be free from our sinful nature. He literally took our punishment for our sin so that we could live differently and have a different final destination.
The second thing he did in this passage was to bring it to our attention, that God sees a tremendous potential for a great harvest to be brought into the kingdom of God. He saw what was keeping it from happening, was that there were not enough workers in the field to make the harvest possible.
Most of us do not go to farms. We get our ears of corn, our green beans, our collards straight from the grocery store. Yet before they arrive at the grocery store, somebody has to plow a field, somebody has to fertilize the soil, somebody has to plant a seed, somebody has to pull out the weeds, somebody has to pick the crop, and somebody has to bring the food to market.