Will we stop them from coming… and knowing Jesus?
Devotional Thought of the Day
36 As he saw the crowds, his heart was filled with pity for them because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 So he said to his disciples, “The harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in. 38 Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.” Matthew 9:36-38 (TEV)
28 Then the woman left her water jar, went back to the town, and said to the people there, 29 “Come and see the man who told me everything I have ever done. Could he be the Messiah?” 30 So they left the town and went to Jesus. 31 In the meantime the disciples were begging Jesus, “Teacher, have something to eat!” 32 But he answered, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 33 So the disciples started asking among themselves, “Could somebody have brought him food?” 34 “My food,” Jesus said to them, “is to obey the will of the one who sent me and to finish the work he gave me to do. 35 You have a saying, ‘Four more months and then the harvest.’ But I tell you, take a good look at the fields; the crops are now ripe and ready to be harvested! 36 The one who reaps the harvest is being paid and gathers the crops for eternal life; so the one who plants and the one who reaps will be glad together. 37 For the saying is true, ‘Someone plants, someone else reaps.’ 38 I have sent you to reap a harvest in a field where you did not work; others worked there, and you profit from their work.” 39 Many of the Samaritans in that town believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them, and Jesus stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of his message, 42 and they told the woman, “We believe now, not because of what you said, but because we ourselves have heard him, and we know that he really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:28-42 (TEV)
54 Meanwhile they neither hear nor preach the Gospel about the free forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake, about the righteousness of faith, about true penitence, about works that have the command of God. But they spend their time either on philosophical discussions or on ceremonial traditions that obscure Christ.
800 The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few. Rogate ergo!—“Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his vineyard.” Prayer is the most effective means of winning other apostles.
I have to wonder what the disciples thought when people who were typically antagonistic towards Jewish peopel started streaming out fo the town towards Jesus. Were they frightened, were they on edge, considering their need to defend themselves? Were they concerned about Jesus reputation, what if the good people saw him hanging out with Samaritans? (Remember they had enough problems when Jesus hung out with Jewish Tax collectors and hookers!)
There is no doubt people are flocking to the United States. We have people trying to legally enter and people trying to come across both borders. There are people that come here on tourist visas and student visas and they expire. They are coming for hope, but like the people coming from the Samaritan Village, they may not understand what they hope they seek is found in Jesus. They come for an opportunity, yet the opportunity they seek may not be the one they need. Even so, they are coming here, looking for something. They may even be looking to do harm, as Paul was, as he travelled to Damascus.
The problem is that they won’t find the hope they seek, just by coming to the USA. As nation we don’t have what they need. The opportunity, the hope they need is here.
We, the people who follow Jesus, have the hope they don’t know how to find. What they need is the exact same thing we need, a relationship with God, with our creator. A relationship where love and mercy overwhelmed guilt and shame and anger. A relationship so tight that nothing can get in its way. A relationship that doesn’t depend on ethnicity, or gender, or economic status.
They are coming to find that relationship.
Our work, our calling to share with them the new of God’s love starts in prayer. It starts not with philosophical reasoning or with a worship service that impresses God or man. (whether traditional liturgical worship or freestyle or attractional concert.
It starts in knowing the very love of God that resulted in our being delivered from sin into His presence. It starts in spending time in prayer and awe before God, and realizing how incredible the Lord we trust in is, how deep His love is. As we spend time looking to Christ we become conformed to His image, an image that would die to see people share that hope that we have.
A pretty famous Christian has looked at the crowds heading toward America and pleaded with the public to urge our government to stop them from coming. People responding to him have brought back the ideas of camps like Manzanar, about rounding up these people and basically imprisoning them. Many have echoed their sentiments. Those sentiments, those ideas are wrong. I would even say they are sinful, as we put up a protective barrier that would keep them from hearing of God’s love.
Think about this, from the book of Revelation
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, “Now God’s salvation has come! Now God has shown his power as King! Now his Messiah has shown his authority! For the one who stood before our God and accused believers day and night has been thrown out of heaven. 11 They won the victory over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the truth which they proclaimed; and they were willing to give up their lives and die. Revelation 12:10-11 (TEV)
As people look at us, as they come to our communities looking for something, may they see the hope we have in Christ, and may we lovingly, patiently share it with them…. as we know Jesus would.
Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 278). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.
Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 1843-1845). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on July 18, 2015, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions, The Way and tagged Abiding in Christ, apostolate, Evangelism, faith, God's desire, heart of God, mission, prayer. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.