My Bible consistently reminds me that my ways are not God’s ways. This becomes really obvious when I consider the difference between how God and I approach the people of the world who are searching for hope. I tend to jump right in and do something. I’m focused on action. But that’s not how God does it—he sees people through the lens of compassion.
Matthew 9:35–38 records how Jesus approached the task.
“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. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
Crowds don’t tend to move me to compassion. But Matthew 9:38 says that when Jesus saw the crowds, “he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless.’”
Now if I were in that situation, with all of Jesus’ resources at my disposal, and I was moved to compassion by the harassed and helpless crowds—I would get right to work helping them. But once again, my ways are not like Jesus’ ways. Instead of jumping into a frenzy of activity, Jesus told His disciples to pray for workers, specifically that God would send out workers.
So I am trying a little experiment. I have set an alarm on my phone for 9:38 (as in Matthew 9:38). Then no matter what I am doing, at 9:38 when my phone vibrates, I say a silent prayer, asking God to send out workers into his harvest field.
Would you join me in this simple experiment? Set an alarm for 9:38 on your phone, computer, or watch. You can set it for morning or evening, or both—whatever is best for you. I have my phone set on vibrate so it won’t be too obtrusive. When your alarm goes off (regardless of what you are doing) you can silently pray, “Lord of the Harvest, please send out workers into your harvest field to tell the world how much you love them.”
There’s a big job to be done—a huge harvest to bring in. But God accomplishes His work in a different way than we do. Jesus didn’t map out a big strategy or assign tasks. He told His disciples to pray. Maybe we should try things His way!
Mike and Jan Rodgers work with The Navigators iEDGE—a two-year cross-cultural experience for recent graduates from one of our U.S. Navigator collegiate ministries.