Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”Matthew 9:36-38
When someone is bleeding out they are losing volumes of blood because of a deep cut or broken bone. When the hemorrhage is external blood gets everywhere.
I meet with people in small groups and individually constantly. Metaphorically, many, many of us are bleeding out. The degree to which we have suffered deep cuts and broken bones in life is severe. The amount of pain people carry because of things done to them or things they have done to others is solemn.
Blood is everywhere.
The good news is that Jesus came for our pain.
He came to walk into our darkness, sit with us, love us, and then show us the way to healing. Everywhere Jesus went He encountered pain. Sometimes I wonder if I am a magnet for people battling darkness because so many I engage with are dealing. But the people in Jesus’s life were dealing. And I talk to others who talk to others and they are dealing.
Blood is everywhere.
Our Matthew 9:36-38 passage describes the condition of people Jesus saw as He journeyed town to town. Jesus describes them as “distressed” and “dispirited.” Distressed means to be despondent, exhausted, faint-hearted, and weary. Dispirited means to be cast down to the ground. These are people dealing with heavy life issues.
Remember, this is Jesus’s characterization of people He saw in the first century! Sometimes we believe modern life is unique in the wear and tear it can do on a soul. Not so! For all our technological advances people are still people. Life in this broken world has been beating down people since the fall of Adam and Eve.
And Jesus saw these people in all the towns and villages. Distressed and dispirited did not describe certain people in certain towns or “zip codes.” Blood was everywhere!
But Jesus saw them. He saw the depth of their cuts and the severity of their brokenness. And Jesus felt compassion for them. His reaction was not that of some sterilized clinical or institutional religionist. He felt for them. He stepped into the darkness and the pain and offered LIFE.
Then He diagnosed them. They are locked in their pain because they are like sheep without a shepherd. His solution is for the weary to surrender their lives AND THEIR PAIN to Him. His solution is to teach the broken how to allow the Shepherd access to the dark places so that HE CAN WALK THEM TO HEALING.
Jesus’s diagnosis is not cured by just offering someone eternal life. Jesus’s diagnosis is cured by offering someone Jesus as Shepherd today. WAY TOO MANY CHRISTIANS have no idea what living as a sheep to Jesus as Shepherd looks like. We sit in church. We serve. We do all the things. But Jesus is not Shepherd. And we continually suffer the same conditions we always have unaware of why healing and transformation aren’t happening.
Our Lord’s solution requires complete and total surrender. Our Lord’s healing requires no longer shepherding one’s own life, no longer holding on to one’s own pain, no longer denying heart access to the Shepherd.
The one who surrenders enters the protected life as a sheep of the Shepherd. In His pasture, nourished on His good truth, one will begin to experience deliverance from being distressed and dispirited.
Finally, Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38) Jesus’s present day solution is to send His people to those bleeding out to feel compassion for them, love them, and offer them LIFE and healing.
Either you are bleeding out and need tending OR you are healed enough and need to go to the distressed and dispirited.
Blood is everywhere.
People all around you are silently carrying pain. They need someone, anyone, who will care for them. They need someone who has a story to share of allowing Jesus to Shepherd them.
Now, helping others may seem daunting. But helping others is only hard to the degree that we struggle to tell our stories of allowing Jesus to Shepherd us through our pain. You may need to spend time clarifying your healing story. Do it. Then go to those in need.
The easiest way I have found to engage in people’s lives is to ask them to breakfast, lunch, or coffee. When we are together, I ask them about their lives. As they share, I do something super, super crazy…I ask more questions! Haha…as simple as that may sound I know asking questions can be daunting.
The easiest way I have found to ask good questions is to empty myself of any presumption that I know anything about what the person is talking about. The less I think I already know the more questions I have to ask.
I also do not presume that any similar experience I have had to what someone is sharing maps perfectly on to their experience. So, for example, just because my mom passed away in 2017, does not mean that I completely understand what someone is going through if their mom passes away.
So, clarify where you are in your healing story. Then do something crazy this week – ask one person to breakfast, lunch, or coffee and get to know them. Ask them questions about their life. And then ask them more questions. Do so because you care. Do so because Jesus is sending you in the Harvest field.
And do so because there is blood everywhere.