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 9.36
It strikes me deeply to think Jesus’ motivation to see workers work the field was because the crowds he saw were “harassed and helpless”. His plea to send workers to the harvest was motivated by compassion for people. Compassion’s roots here are (in greek Splagchnon) the inward parts (heart, liver, lungs, etc.), figuratively. the emotions (source: Strong’s concordance).
It hit us hard to visit relatives of our children last week. People who have a different faith than ours. People who live in dirt poor circumstances. In poverty that is extreme. What they need is compassionate care, above anything right now. They need food, clothes, a roof, clean water, medical care, and to break the cycle of poverty, they need education, opportunity, and encouragement to rise up.
They need to hear the good news of Jesus. Absolutely. Clearly. But I think these precious people need to see the good news lived out before they will let it take home in their hearts. Let’s always remember that:
- God is love (1 John 4.8)
- He has compassion (Psalm 145.9)
- And Jesus wept (John 11.35)
Jesus, our head and leader, calls his disciples to follow him. To be fishers of men. To take up their crosses, to sacrifice, and to bear the burdens of others. That is compassion, that is Christ-likeness.
Let’s change this world with the good news by living like Christ did, not just in word, but also in deed. The balance to faith and works, (believing and doing) is also met in the sharing of the good news. As Paul the apostle said:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10.14-15
Let’s maintain faith and also works, not to earn salvation (!) but to live it out!
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2.14
We are after all his workmanship or his handiwork, that is: his poemia, (in greek) this means we are his work of art.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Let us keep spreading God’s great news.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us… 2 Cor 4.7