Someone Will Come Along
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Matthew 9:37-38
Like everyone, I’m busy. I’m almost always behind and in a hurry. So, when I see someone by the roadside needing help, or when I encounter a patient at work who has some addiction struggle and needs some extra time, my first impulse is almost always the same. I don’t have time right now. Someone else will come along. I might even pray, asking God to send someone, which is silly, because the answer is always the same. I have sent someone. It’s you.
Matthew, in today’s passage, wrote of Jesus’ compassion for the crowds following him whom he described as harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). In the story, Jesus lamented that there were so many who needed help, but so few helpers to provide it. There’s plenty of God’s work to be done, but so few workers (my paraphrase).
Whether we like it or not, as Christians, we are Jesus’ hands and feet here on Earth. We may not find it to be a particularly sound plan, but it’s God’s plan. We’re the ones who are supposed to be sharing God’s love and grace with those who need it most. When we refuse to do so, whether out of busyness or laziness, what happens to God’s plan?
Someone else will do it. It’s tempting to claim God’s sovereignty as justification for disobedience. I can’t possibly thwart God’s will, so if I don’t do this, it’ll still get done, just by someone else.
While I do believe God is in control, it’s clear from both the Bible and from experience, that we have the freedom to hurt or help ourselves and those around us. When I just pass by that patient who needs a little extra time, I turn my back on God, following me more and more, which is the same path that led to my addiction. When refuse to help another, by default, I hurt the one who needs help.
Whether we like it or not, we’re the workers God has sent to do his work. When we refuse to participate, we pursue the misery of our way. Thankfully, the opposite is true as well. When we obey, we embrace faith, recovery, joy and the new life we’re meant to live.