Jesus traveled among all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, announcing the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The size of the harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but there are few workers. Therefore, plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out workers for his harvest” (Matthew 9:35-38, Common English Bible).
As I am writing this, I am a bit melancholy. Today (Saturday, March 18, 2017) my favorite all-time guitar player, Chuck Berry, passed away. I don’t want to say I am totally heart-broken or anything like that. I only knew the man through his music. I had never met him in person. As I work, I am listening to a compilation of Berry’s greatest hits.
When I read this passage I had something a bit different enter my mind. Perhaps it was because of Chuck Berry’s passing. I remember as a kid about so many rock stars, Elvis, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry and so many more played before large crowds. Crowds followed them. When they would reach a concert site people would flock to the arena in hopes of getting a glimpse, or an autograph or an handshake. Crowds of fans would come hoping for something, hoping beyond hope that they might get something because they were present, even if they didn’t really know what they wanted.
As I picture events like today’s lesson, the events play out in my head with even bigger crowds for Jesus than some of these rock stars drew in their day. Jesus was the “rock star” of his day. And, as Jesus looked out on the crowds, he was filled with compassion for them. The lesson says that Jesus was filled with compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless. He hung out with these folks. He preached to them. He taught them. He healed them. The crowds might not have heard music but they saw quite a show. Miracles were very present with Jesus.
Jesus finished this lesson and the chapter with the famous line, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. When I read that in the context of the lesson I can’t help but think even Jesus was feeling pretty overwhelmed about that time with all there was to do. The Scriptures remind us that Jesus grew weary at times. The idea that here there was more to do than could be imagined isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.
I think the same could hold true for us today. With the number of people outside the Church of Jesus Christ, the harvest is still plentiful and the workers grow fewer and fewer all the time. Perhaps the reason, all too often we lack compassion. Compassion is most evident when we are in the world showing the love of Jesus Christ. When we can have compassion on the crowds around us, it is then that we are most like Jesus.
What are you doing to show compassion to the masses?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved