Day 1: Matthew 9:35-36
Jesus and his disciples were busy doing ministry, organizing events, and serving the people.
Matthew gives us a summary in verse 35-36.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching 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.
Imagine the task orientated focus of the ministry of Jesus as he and his disciples travelled around
- Find places to stay
- Control crowds
- Find rabbis to open up their synagogue
- Minister to the mass of humanity coming for healing.
If the disciples were task oriented people, they could easily have been overwhelmed with the details and logistics of ministering with Jesus. It can take their eyes off the goal, and ours as well.
Lost in details
Focusing on the details of endless ministry often takes our eyes off the ultimate goal of personal evangelism— helping people find faith in Christ.
Many of us practically live in full time ministry today, even if we are just volunteers.
We are task oriented to keep the church running, the sheep fed, and hoping to make a difference in our corner of the world.
- Call parishioners.
- Make hospital visits
- Conduct weddings and funerals
- Lead Small groups
- Send mission teams to foreign countries
- Pray for youth groups
- Direct Children’s Ministries
- Organize Street reaches
- Plan and produce worship services
- Greet church visitors
- Prepare the coffee.
With church life sometimes bordering between burn out or the joy of hyper activity, we sometimes lose focus on the people without Christ who are around us.
We lose the eyes to see.
In the midst of all the activity of ministry, Jesus saw the crowds.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Do I see?
Do we see the crowds? Do we see the people around us without Christ?
Let me give you an example of how I keep my eyes on the crowd:
Where I live, there is a mountain nearby.
I can climb it and from it’s vantage point, see a city of 1.3 million people, laid out on the flat plain. I see the sky scrapers that house the prosperous, and I see the slums where gangs are killing each other.
I have a picture of it on my computer. It’s a reminder of the crowds.
It’s a reminder to pray for my city and it’s leadership, to pray for the people in my city, to pray for my neighbors.
What do you have to remind you to pray for your place where you live? What do you do to “See the crowds”?
Is there a place where you live where you can see the landscape of your town?
Maybe a tall building, maybe a mountain.
Maybe a aerial map of your area, or pictures from a drone camera.
Lord, give me the eyes to see the crowds around me.
Give me the eyes to see the people who our ministry is not yet reaching.
Give me the eyes to see above the business of ministry and see the people who are not yet following you.
I pray for the city in which I live.
Use me to reach some of them.
Use your church in this city to make a difference for the kingdom.
Take 5 minutes and pray for your city.
Ask God to give you His eyes to see the crowds.
Make a committement to find a photo or visual place to remind you of your harvest field.