Daily Devotion for July 9, 2016
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
This old slave spiritual, My God is a Rock in a Weary Land, takes its first line from Isaiah 32:2.
My God is a rock in a weary land, weary land, weary land
My God is a rock in a weary land
A shelter in the the time of the storm.
Stop and let me tell you about chapter one
When the lord God's work had just begun
Stop and let me tell you about chapter two
When the lord God preached that Bible through
Stop and let me tell you about chapter three
When the lord God died up on Calvary.
Now stop and let me tell you about chapter four
When the lord God visits among the poor
Stop and let me tell you about chapter five
When the lord God brought all the dead alive
Stop and let me tell you about chapter six
When he went to Jerusalem and healed the sick.
Stop and let me tell you about chapter seven
When he died and he risen and he went to heaven
Stop and let me tell you about chapter eight
When the lord God was standin’ at the golden gate
Stop and let me tell you about chapter nine
When the lord God turned all the water to wine.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, let me live this day as the gift it is, for You have truly blessed me to live it. And if I may suffer, I will carry with me the certainty that one day I will see You face to face, a day when all things will become clear and my pain will be made whole through the grace of Christ, my God. Blessed be you, oh Lord my God, and blessed be the day you have given me.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal those who are wounded; touch those who are in pain; clean those who are soiled; warm those who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
May God Almighty send me his light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may His mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 10:5 (ESV)
but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.
Matthew 9:35-38 (ESV)
The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 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 pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Notes on the Scripture
After the recounting the events at Capernaum, Matthew tacks on a general paragraph to fill in an unknown period of time. Jesus goes about the area, probably the general vicinity of Galilee, teaching and healing. We must remember that Christ was human, as well as divine; and it makes for difficulty in understanding him, sometimes, because at times he acts in “human mode”. Here, for example, he has a human emotional response to a markedly human perception.
His reacts, in other words, like a person. He observes that the number of people who need help is enormous; and he thereby becomes concerned that the number of trained disciples who might help them be sufficient. He instructs his disciples to pray to the Father for more “laborers” — that is, disciples of great faith who have been taught and trained sufficiently to care for all the lost and helpless people; for his ministry had attracted a great multitude.
Our understanding is that God is omniscient; he knows everything. He would have known a billion years earlier exactly how many lost souls would be on earth at any time and how many disciples his Son would need to help them. But Christ does not seem omniscient in this passage; he reacts like a human being, learning of a situation and becoming concerned.
Many Christians tend to treat Christ as if he were identical to God the Father; but, at least during his time on earth, he was not. For one thing, like other people, he prays to the Father. For another, there were limits to his knowledge, e.g., Mark 13:31-32 or Matthew 24:35-36. Jesus was, in a sense, God who had limited himself in ways, so that he might be fully human.
As for the direct meaning of the passage, Christ's words should lead us to consider our own responsibilities. First, he tells us as he told his disciples to pray to the Father for more Christian leaders, to bring people to Christ and to minister to their needs. We might well observe that now, as then, there seem to be a lot more confused, helpless lost souls crying out for help than there are people to help them. Christ is speaking directly to you and me.
But as well as praying for “laborers”, we also must consider our duty to provide the labor ourselves; to train ourselves to help others find Christ and to apply our talents, time and resources to the job. For we are still in the midst of the harvest.