Matthew 9:35-38 - 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."
Who deserves to be cared for? That's a question I spend a lot of time answering, whenever I help people fill out Medicare or Medicaid applications. Or maybe it's a Social Security form, or a form for people who are trying to get disability accommodations at school or work. It's almost always a major headache to fill out these forms. They want to know everything: date of birth, diagnosis, specific details about pain, and exactly what people can or cannot do. Sometimes they also want to know how much money the person has.
And every time I help someone fill out these forms, I worry. I know the people; they are usually poor, often elderly, and they really need help. But I also know that if they don't meet every single specification on that form, they will not get help. They might be too old or too young. They might not be citizens. They might make a little too much money, or have too many or too few people in their families. Sometimes they're not dying fast enough!
That's why I find the Bible reading for today comforting. It says, "When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." "Harassed and helpless"—now that's a phrase I can relate to! I am definitely harassed and helpless a great deal of the time. So are the people I care for. And I suspect, so are you.
How do we qualify for Jesus' care and compassion? Simply by needing it. Jesus looks for no other qualifications in us. We need Him—and so He leaves behind His heavenly throne, and becomes a human baby, crying in a manger. We are harassed by the powers of evil, sin, and the devil—and so Jesus comes to fight for us, to win the war that none of us could win on our own. We are helpless—and so Jesus suffers and dies—and rises again—to give us everlasting life as God's own children. We are needy, and the Lord supplies all our needs from His own fullness, "grace upon grace" (John 1:16b). Jesus' care is for you.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for caring for me. Help me to care for others. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. When is the last time you felt harassed or helpless?
2. Do you expect people to meet certain standards to receive care? Why or why not?
3. Do you expect yourself to meet certain standards to receive God's care? Why or why not?
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