More Hands to Help

by | Jun 21, 2023 | Great Commission, Salvation, Witnessing

“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.’” (Matthew 9:35-38 ESV)

Have you ever seen a sheep without a shepherd? Occasionally a domestic sheep gets lost and turns up years later, and you see photos of them in the news. They are lucky to be alive! With no shepherd, the sheep is in constant danger from predators like coyotes and wolves. It has no medical care, so it probably has parasites, and a broken bone or infected cut could kill it. It has no one to guide it to places where there is good grass and water to drink, so it may die of hunger or thirst. And its wool goes unshorn, possibly for years—which is the reason these pictures turn up on the news media. A sheep can’t shear itself. And wool that goes on growing year after year is wool that gets matted, dirty, and very, very heavy. It is a burden to the sheep. One sheep found in 2015 was carrying 90 pounds of extra weight in fleece alone!

No wonder Jesus is concerned for the people He is seeing every day. God didn’t make them to live on their own. They too need a Shepherd, the God who made them and knows them and wants them to be healthy and blessed. Jesus has come to gather them in, all these lost sheep from God’s flock. He will heal them, protect them, provide for them, and keep them safe. And He will do all these things at the sacrifice of His own life—because a good shepherd loves his sheep and will die for them if necessary, so they may live.

But gathering up all God’s human sheep is going take a lot of manpower. Jesus has no intention of doing it on His own. He calls disciples to help Him, and sends them out to teach and preach and heal. And He calls us, every Christian believer, every sheep that God has already found, saved, and tended.

Now it’s our turn to seek out other sheep and bring them home. Jesus will do for them what we cannot—save and heal and forgive. We will help however He directs us—listening and caring and finding housing or medical care or jobs or counseling, whatever is necessary for the people God values so much. And we will pray—because Jesus, our crucified and risen Shepherd, tells us to pray that God will send out more laborers. There are still many lost sheep in need of loving care. And God has honored us—you and me—with the chance to reach them.

We Pray: Dear Lord, I don’t really know what I’m doing, but You can care for lost people through me. Please make whatever use of me You see best. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on June 15, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights

Reflection Questions:
1. Do you have friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers who are not believers in Jesus?
2. If so, what are you doing to love and care for them? Name a few specific things.
3. What are some skills or gifts you have that could be put to the benefit of your neighbors?


More Hands to Help