By Allen White
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming 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. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35-38
Most of us haven’t spent much time around sheep. We might wear their sweaters or nibble on their legs at Easter. Other than occasionally counting them to get to sleep, we don’t hang out with sheep.
The Bible often compares people with sheep. They need to be led and protected. In fact, the ministry of every believer is similar to the work of a shepherd. Just like a shepherd leads the sheep, every believer is called to invest in the lives of others.
Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw the spiritual state of the people. They were like traffic with no lanes. They were like electricity sparking from a downed power line. They were like sheep without a shepherd.
While many people are self-directed, most of us are not self-directed in every area of our lives. We need someone to care enough to ask how we’re doing. We need encouragement. We need accountability. We need each other.
Encouraging and helping are one thing, but in this passage Jesus is about to drop the e-word – evangelism. If you’ve ever gone door to door, then you’re ready to stop reading right now. Don’t.
But, Jesus isn’t talking about finding a needle in a haystack. The harvest is plentiful. The fish are jumping in the boat. The sales leads are not warm, they’re smoking hot.
Jesus isn’t looking for an evangelical Willie Lowman who asks, “What do I need to do to put you into a Savior today?” Jesus has more hot leads than the church could possibly get to. Any willing believer is welcome to apply.
I don’t know of very many people who ever came to Christ all by themselves. In fact, even if they were alone when they prayed, someone printed a Bible or published a website or produced a presentation. The Bible tells us that by using our spiritual gifts, we extend God’s grace to other people (1 Peter 4:10).
You don’t need to memorize the Four Spiritual Laws or have a copy of Evidence that Demands a Verdict on hand (though they are great resources). Your best tool to influence otherstoward Christ is you -- your life, your experiences, your relationship with God.
I know what you’re thinking – “I’m not a good enough Christian to help another person. Maybe a pastor should do it.” Well, I’m a pastor, and I’m not good enough either. But, Jesus living in and through us is more than enough.
Jesus, as one person, couldn’t meet the needs of the entire crowd. He didn’t heal every sick person. He didn’t deliver every possessed person. Jesus knew that the poor would always be with us (Matthew 26:11). But, Jesus through His Church, you and me, can accomplish a great deal.
Think about this – there are about 2 billion Christians on this planet. So, there are about 4.7 billion people who don’t know Christ. If two people could show the love of Christ to five unbelievers, then 2 billion could show Christ’s love to 4.7 billion.
If you’re still reading, then your nerves didn’t get the best of you. God only uses people who are available to Him. He will use whatever abilities we have to offer, and then He gives us spiritual gifts to accomplish His Will.
How available are you to God? If you are open, He will use you. If you’re not open, He won’t. If you have no desire for God to use you, you’re missing out on the best part of the Christian life.
More from Allen White: allenwhite.org