Matthew 9:35-38

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 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 ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35-38

What happened to the daily devotions? Rest assured, I think about that every day that passes without my taking a little time to sit with a Bible passage, run it through the filter of what is going on in and around me, and funnel all of that into a page of reflection and prayer. I have done this, off and on, for many years, knowing that there are a few people out there who appreciate it. But sometimes I don’t write.

Usually I fail to write when I get busy or distracted or I’m on vacation. That is what happened this month. First the hurricane and all that entailed. Then it was hosting some family members for a week as they waited for the water to go down so they could go back home. And then it was welcoming my daughter and her children into our house for the next few months as we work toward rebuilding their home.

In the midst of that I was going to doctor appointments and showing up for tests in preparation for a medical procedure that I’ll be having done this week.  So the devotions got left behind. Life happens.

Today’s text concludes the 9th chapter of Matthew. It closes with an image of Jesus that I want to hold and a description of his followers that I aspire to be.

Jesus spends his time doing good. He brings healing and encouragement and insight into the lives of the people he touches and teaches. He comes into the crowds from a place of compassion, with courage and conviction. He isn’t an untouchable (not to mention highly touched up) celebrity. This isn’t about a cult following. Jesus is an amazing man, full of love for the unlovely and hope for the hopeless. That is the Jesus who grabbed me by the back of the neck and refuses to let me go. I can appreciate feeling harassed and helpless. I need a shepherd like everybody else.

But one shepherd can only watch so many sheep. One farmer can harvest only so many acres. One fisherman can catch only so many fish. One teacher can teach only so many people. In both his wisdom and his humility, Jesus realizes that he will need help. He needs more people doing the sort of things that Jesus himself had been doing. That was always his plan. I aspire to be one of those people.

And so do you! If not, you wouldn’t have bothered to read all the way down to here. Jesus has you by the neck too! God needed you to BE, and there is a tiny little corner of the world that needs what you have to offer. When there is enough of us, across the world, each tending to our own tiny little corner, pretty soon the whole world is touched. Like salt. Like leaven. Like a flickering candle of light. Every devotion and every sermon I have ever written has been a variation on this same theme.

I should be back writing regularly in another couple of weeks or so. Meanwhile…

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, as children we were taught to sing that you have the whole world in your hands. We believe that. We trust that. But far too often we forget that your hands extend through our own. Keep us willing to serve as you served, to love as you loved, to have compassion toward all who are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Use us, as you will, always to your glory and the welfare of your people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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17 Responses to “Matthew 9:35-38”

  1. Gary Reese Says:

    Thank you Rev Kerry. I hope your procedure goes well. Miss you all and hope that Harvey recovery for all goes as well as it can.

  2. Donna Koska Says:

    Beautiful. Thank you; I appreciate you and all you do.

  3. Marlys Says:

    Thank you for your time and effort to keep us informed of what is happening. My prayers have been with all who have suffered in the storms.
    May you be well! May God continue to bless you as you so richly bless and inspire us.

  4. Jeff Says:

    Christ’s peace and healing surround you, Pastor Kerry.

  5. stmarksoaklyn Says:

    I thank you for every devotion you are able to write. I look forward to your words and pray for your health and well-being.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Praying for a quick and complete recovery for you. I have been reading your devotions for many years. The Holy Spirit does great work through you and I, for one, am deeply appreciative of your efforts.

  7. Paul Graeber Says:

    Thanks, I look forward to your prayer and insight every day, I miss you when you don’t write. Recover from your procedure quickly, we all need you in our lives.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for your devotions. Prayers for a successful procedure and a speedy recovery.

  9. jon bright Says:

    thank you for your devotion to the devotions. we pray for a safe and complete recovery from your procedure. may God bless you and your family richly

  10. Dave Armstrong Says:

    I missed you but You were doing very important ministry. Hope all the medical stuff goes well. Dave

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I thank you for all of your devotions and words of wisdom Pastor Kerry, they provide me and I’m sure many others a lot of peace and spiritual guidance.
    I pray your medical procedure goes well.
    God bless!

  12. Lyn Ultsch Says:

    Thank you for your ministry and dedication in providing the Daily Devotions. Just seeing the email on my phone brings a smile to my heart. You help to keep me grounded.
    Prayers for healing and guidance for your health care team.

  13. Harold Talbott Says:

    Pastor Kerry: I just finished reading the Daily Devotions and I;m thinking that I should be returning the favor of visiting you as you wake up

    From your procedure as you did when I had mine. Please know that my thoughts will be with you all the way. But most

    Important you will be watched over by our Heavenly Father. You’ll be back among us in no time at all.

    Sincerely, Hal

  14. mary lou Says:

    Your devotion is like that of the visiting minister we had on Sunday that we need to “be” rather the doing all the time. Think on why you are here and go about your life with that intent. Listening always to the Lord’s will not our own. Prayers for your procedures and thank you for your devotions.

  15. Sharon Says:

    It was a blessing just to see the devotions had arrived. Thank you for the update and the encouraging devotion. Prayers going for all of the recovery work and for your health.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Holding you (and all those affected by nature’s storms and adversity) in prayer up to our Father’s throne of grace.

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