Scattered: Day 18
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.”
As we are looking at the subject of “scattered”, todays reading demonstrates two examples of scattering, one good, one not good. When Jesus saw the people, he likened them to sheep. Having looked after thousands of sheep over the years you soon learn that sheep need a shepherd, a good shepherd. There is something of a joke among farmers that a sheep’s one ambition in life is to die, and as soon as possible. While this is an exaggeration, sheep do require loving, careful attention and protection. It is no coincidence that both Moses and David both spent years looking after sheep before becoming perhaps the two greatest leaders in the Old Testament.
Just as a good shepherd would care for his sheep, making sure they were healthy and well fed (see Psalm 23), how much more does Jesus care for you and I, as demonstrated here in today’s passage. In compassion he ministered training, truth and wholeness and, instead of scattering, he needed them to come to Him for this. Similarly, how important it is for us to gather together as a church so that we are built up and fully prepared to be scattered with the purpose of reaching the scattered who are weary and lost and who need the Saviour.
It is the time of year when our natural harvest is being completed. Nowadays huge machines with minimal manpower are used but before most of us were born it was the task of every able-bodied person to complete the task. Men, women and children would all be involved in order to bring in the crops. A harvest does not wait for a convenient time but must be gathered when it is ready or it will be ruined or lost.
The harvest Jesus is talking about here, is the harvest of people, souls. Just as it was in days gone by, it is the task for all believers to fulfil Jesus’s great commission to go into all the world to share the good news. The challenge for us is, are we willing to go, or do we need to be pushed out, or do we sit back in apathy? May we be willing to be scattered with purpose to gather the scattered who are wandering and lost.