36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." Matthew 9:36-37
Jesus tells us that we all, at one point in our lives, are like sheep without a shepherd. We are lost, we are tired, we are helpless, and we are hopeless. The difference though is that in Jesus we no longer feel those things because Jesus has taken them all away from us, by taking them on himself at the cross.
Many of us can still remember what it was like before Jesus, to be like a sheep without a shepherd. And the reality is that many people in our every day circles are still living like sheep without a shepherd, being downcast by the burdens and toils of everyday life. Having found our shepherd we want to do what we can in order to help them find their shepherd as well. But how can we do that?
1. By loving and pursuing
Jesus was willing to pour himself out for the sheep. That is what a shepherd does. It is a 24/7 lifestyle of giving and sacrifice and chasing after lost sheep. Jesus shows us that people are worth loving and pursuing.
2. By helping and serving
Jesus did not wait for people to come find him. He went to them. He went into every town and village looking for lost sheep, and doing what he could to help and serve them. Jesus shows us that people are worth helping and serving.
3. By dying and sacrificing
Jesus suffered and died to save us. That is what a shepherd would do - place their life on the line for the sheep. We are called to die to ourselves, and our own self-interests for the good of others. Jesus shows us that people are worth dying and sacrificing for.
Just as Jesus was sent, he is sending us! But what does that look like for us? To help us think through who it is that we are being sent to, pray and think through the following:
1. Pray. Ask God to help you see the people around you like He does and to be burdened for them.
2. Think about the person/people who loved you when you were far from God. Who was there for you? Who loved you enough to pursue you and to help bring you into the Kingdom? Thank God for them and think about taking the time to tell them how important they were in your process.
3. How did they love you? How did they pursue, serve, and sacrifice for you?
4. Who are the people that God has currently placed in your life? (Your coworkers, neighbors, friends, family, etc.) Write their names down.
5. Who of these do you feel especially drawn to?
6. How could you pursue, serve and sacrifice for them?
7. Pray for this person specifically by name and pray for them in the days ahead.
We would love to know who it is that you are feeling drawn to! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can be praying for them as well!