Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 9:37 

“Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” – Matthew 9:37      

Jesus and the disciples were ministering throughout the land.  “Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” Matthew 9:35. They were traveling throughout Galilee teaching the people in their synagogues.  He was proclaiming the good news to them, speaking of the kingdom of God as well as healing them from every kind of illness. 

He saw many Jewish converts, and though there were many scribes and teachers in their towns, they did not teach the truth about the gospel.  They taught the old ways, the law and keeping it strictly to stay in good standing with God.  And with their arrogance and pride, none of them really cared for their souls, just about their living the Jewish life.  There were none to teach them about the grace of God and the idea that He was the Messiah who came to pay the penalty for their sins.  And with this, they were not able, even if willing, to heal or deliver them from their diseases or sicknesses.

Seeing this, Jesus felt compassion for them.  “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36. They only had people to guide them in the ways of Judaism, but not in the new life He presented to them.  They were fatigued, not in body but in their minds and spirit. He was touched by their infirmities as the merciful High Priest.  He was the good shepherd and He felt saddened that there were no other teachers at their disposal to help them understand the gospel.  There were so many who needed a good shepherd, but there was no one to lead them.

We find the same situation today.  There are many in this world who have not yet heard the truth of the gospel because no one took the time to go to them.  There are also many who have heard the truth but have not fully understood it because no one has taken the time needed to explain it to them so they can accept it as truth.  There are also many who hear and accept it with joy, but there is no one to help them become rooted in this new life, and when affliction or persecution arises because of their choice to accept the gospel, they fall away.  Or, they accept it but when they begin to worry and fret, or become enamored with worldly things, they focus on their trials and desires and become unfruitful. 

As Christians, we are called to be shepherds; to reach out to the lost and help those who are new to the faith build their foundations on the Word of God.  We are also called to help our brothers and sisters in Christ through difficult times, praying for and encouraging them.  We are to pray for the lost that God will lead us to those who need Christ in their lives, even though they do not realize it themselves.  We are to pray that God will lead us to fellow Christians who need fellowship and desire help in growing in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  We are called to help everyone we come into contact with to come to the faith and help them grow.  This is the role of the shepherd.  To guide and lead and protect.  As Jesus said, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Lets be hard workers for the cause of Christ.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

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