September 21, 2022

September 21, 2022

Author: Pastor Bernard Ibrahim
September 21, 2022

“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Matthew 9:35-38

This passage came up several times in our time with a pastor/missionary that we support this past weekend. Pastor Mark and I got an opportunity to spend some time with him. We wanted to get his input and counsel on many things related to missions and the planting of churches and this passage came up more than once in our conversations. So I took some time to meditate on it and thought I’d share with you some of the observations that can help us to pray more like Christ.

Now if you take a look at this phrase, pray earnestly, we’re here for prayer meeting as a church praying to the Lord. This is one of the things that Christ commands us to pray and this phrase can actually be translated and it is translated in other places in the scriptures as beg, or beseech, or implore. Most of the time it is translated beg. A lot of the time it is people coming to Christ asking for something, begging for healing for a family member or a servant. I found it interesting the Lord’s reaction when he saw the crowds and I think this is one of the prerequisites for us is to be able to pray this way, pray earnestly or to beg the Lord. You will notice that in verse 36. This is Christ’s reaction when he saw the crowds. He had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. When he looks out on the masses of unbelievers there who do not have their hope in Christ, they don’t put their trust and faith in the work of Christ, he has compassion. I saw in myself a greater need for the compassion, not just of those who weep or we’re close to—our family members that we want to be saved, our friends, our neighbors even, the people we know but even those who are far from us, even our enemies. We must have a heart of compassion. You can almost assume that these same crowds were the same ones that were calling for the crucifixion of Christ. But he looked out upon them and he had compassion. This is the heart of Christ for unbelievers. Then he turns to his disciples and you might think if you step back and look at the scene this is Christ the Savior, the sender of the Holy Spirit, the great gospel preacher who is the Lamb of God, who is with his disciples, who he is sending out and equipping to be pastors and teachers and apostles in his church. He’s telling them when he looks out on the crowds to pray. He’s not telling them ok you guys have got to get going. You’ve got to get to preaching, teaching, and planting churches. He said the first thing they need to do is pray. We need to believe that God is the Lord of the harvest. He’s the one who saves and he saves in a particular way. Turn with me to Romans 10. The way the gospel is taught and preached and believed in, Romans 10 really has our answer. We will read a few verses from there. We have to have compassion and we have to believe that the gospel is every single person’s greatest need. Starting at verse 10 through verses 13, “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” So this is the greatest need for everybody no matter what your religious background is, whether religious or irreligious, God fearer or atheist. Look at verse 14, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? The same word that the Lord tells us to pray, pray earnestly that the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. “As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news.”

Therefore, we are to have compassion when we see unbelievers and yes that compassion should drive us to share the gospel, absolutely! But it needs to drive us to prayer first. Lord send out laborers into your harvest. The pastor/missionary that we talked to and support works all over the world including closer to home, Seattle, Washington; the church in Boston Lake, New York; Flemington, New Jersey; Essex Ontario, Canada; Lenawee, Michigan, and Canton, Michigan. We need to pray for more pastors and missionaries.

The conclusion that the pastor/missionary sent us in his letter is that we don’t need more organizations or money. We need more pastors, laborers to work in God’s harvest. So I want to encourage you as I was encouraged to pray more and pray more earnestly for compassion. Pray to see the real need and the way God brings salvation and what Jesus commands us to do is to pray—pray for the Lord of the harvest to send forth workers.