Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep [d]without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
In continuing on in this series I have faced a lot of challenges away from the pulpit. The sermons are having their effect as I address very difficult issues but try to be diplomatic about it. Preaching can be like that where the message and the state of the church get so closely linked that they overlap and grow together. It has been like that since the beginning of the years and it has brought some highs and lows. Regardless, the message of being committed to people first has always been there.
Jesus never forces anyone to do anything. Other than maybe cleansing the temple, he is never violent nor is he arm twisting. Mostly Jesus just goes out, ministers to needs, preaches the gospel and then move on to the next town. The main thing is his compassion for people. In this passage, Jesus’ compassion is explained as because the people are distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. His desire was ultimately to be that shepherd.
If any church puts anything but people first, then that church is not reflecting the character of the founder of the church Jesus Christ. Buildings, programs, budgets and such are all tools in this and I am not saying they are not important but the purpose of the church is to preach the gospel, worship God and disciple those who believe. Everything else is details.
At Hersey Congregational Church, we need to realign ourselves to the purpose of people. For the last few years we have been very focused on renovating our building and this has been detrimental to the ministry to people, this has meant the renovations have not gone forward either. My opinion we put the cart before the horse and that has meant no progress has been made in anything for a while. If we put people first (God’s business first), I believe very much that God will take care of ours.