Matthew 9: 35-38
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 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. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
I’ve heard this passage used at least 100 times in reference to evangelism efforts, and at various times either embraced the call or brushed it off. The call I’ve been used to usually lacks the depth of transformation that really changes things, things that I’ve associated with God’s Kingdom.
The last part of verse 35 is often left out of the call. The part where Jesus does something to reveal the kingdom by deeply engaging with the diseased and sick to heal them. He reaches out to the most vulnerable around and shows us that the kingdom of God is revealed through an interaction with them. In verse 36, it tells us that He’s broken by their circumstances.
Most importantly, in verse 37, He tells His disciples to look around and realize there are only a few of them to carry the burden of the marginalized and vulnerable. In essence, it’s up to them to live their lives in service to Him with the people that matter most to him in order to expand the kingdom with those that need transformation the most.
Yes, proclaiming the gospel with our voices is necessary and worth our efforts, but this passage tells us that it requires serving the helpless around us that are calling out. The only way we’ll ever know who’s helpless and vulnerable is by spending time listening to those that are around us.
The question is always, “Am I close enough to hear them cry out?”