Lessons Of A Lifetime

Sheep Without A Shepherd
Or
Praying For Laborers
Sunday April 26, 2020

Scripture To Consider:
“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease among the people. But when Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”

“Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest.’             Matthew 9.35-38

Something To Consider:
Jesus was wasting no time. He was constantly being about His Father’s business of preaching and teaching the good news of the kingdom. Yes, Jesus healed many of their sicknesses and their diseases, but what was it that moved Him with compassion toward the people? It was not their physical ailments or crippling diseases.

What moved Jesus to having compassion on them was the fact that the people were weary and scattered, as though they were sheep without a shepherd. In Numbers chapter 27, the Lord was speaking to Moses and revealed to him that his time of departing this earth had come. Moses, not concerned for his life, was moved with compassion for the people and asked the Lord to set a man over the congregation of Israel.

In verse 17 of Numbers 27 Moses made his request known to the Lord, by stating; “That the congregation of the LORD may not be like sheep which have no shepherd.” And the Lord said to Moses: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.” Leaders and leaders in training, must possess the Spirit of God in order to become spiritually effective in their kingdom calling.

The apostle Paul proclaimed in Galatians 5.1; “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” And in verse 16 and 17 of Galatians chapter 5, Paul instructed; “I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

Something Else To Consider:
True spiritual leaders like Moses and Jesus are quickly moved with compassion whenever they come across any of God’s people as sheep without a shepherd. It was indeed a situation that Moses could not conceive; therefore, he petitioned the Lord for another leader. Moses had a spiritual leader in training named Joshua, whom God had been preparing. Are we allowing God to properly and biblically prepare us by our studying the Word of God on a regular basis?

Jesus was also aware that His time on earth was short; therefore, He had been preparing a group of disciples as leaders in training to become good spiritual shepherds in His absence. The will of God does not include His people being weary, scattered, and without good shepherds. The will of God does include His people coming to Jesus, the Great Shepherd who has laid down His life for His sheep.

And what is the basic role of a spiritual shepherd-like leader? Paul prayed a most basic prayer in 1 Thessalonians 5.23; “Now, may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless [holy and righteous] at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Will we be seen as sanctified, blameless, holy, and righteous at the coming of Jesus; whether that coming is in our own earthly death or His predicted second coming?

Just prior to Paul’s prayer, he gave a series of admonitions beginning in verse 16 of 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, by announcing; “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you [for us]. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”

Wow, how are we doing with our abstaining from every form of evil? That, I will leave in the most capable hands of the Holy Spirit! Although, I will admit that our not abstaining from every form of evil may indeed prove us to be as sheep without a true Jesus-like shepherd.

Something More To Consider:
The time for the disciples to leave the classroom of the Holy Spirit and begin to apply what they had learned had now come. Therefore, Jesus said to His disciples; “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Crop gathering time in any culture is a time of rejoicing, if there are enough laborers to work in the fields at harvest time. If not, the fruit of previous labor is lost.

And so, Jesus informed His disciples; “Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” And as these disciples prayed, we find them being the very ones sent out by Jesus in the next chapter. What does the next chapter of our lives hold? Therefore, let us also pray for laborers!

Jesus, in Matthew 20.16 cautioned; “For many are called, but few chosen!” Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1.9; “God is faithful, by whom you [and us] were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Paul continued his treatise on the calling of God in verse 26, by stating; “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.”

A Few Final Words:
Are we to be found as sheep without a shepherd? Or are we to be used by God, anointed by His Holy Spirit, to pray for laborers to become blameless, holy, and righteous Christ-like shepherds to God’s flock? Paul followed up his thoughts concerning our holy calling with these words; “But God has chosen the foolish things of this world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of this world [us] to put to shame the things which are mighty.”

Paul spoke a great deal concerning the calling of God we have been granted as true believers in Christ Jesus. Beginning in Ephesians 4.1, Paul admonished spiritual leaders in training, by teaching; “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you [and us] to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Spiritual shepherd-like leaders must consider themselves as longsuffering leaders in every generation, willing to be used by God in the harvesting and discipling of souls for Christ. In order to accomplish that kingdom mandate, we must walk worthy of the calling of Christ upon our lives. And while endeavoring to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, let us obey the words and instruction of Jesus.

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, prepare our hearts and the hearts of many to become faithful laborers for Christ in the vast harvest field of this world. In Him Always, Amen!

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