Devotion for September 19-20, 2017

Calling People

There is a popular belief that there are two times in a person’s life when the events of
his or her life pass by in rapid succession. At the altar of marriage, one wonders
what he is getting herself or himself into and at the moment of death, one wonders
once more what he has gotten himself into! But there is a third time for some
people- for those people who are called by God to become pastors.

Pastors exist only because Christ Himself in the days of His flesh saw the need for
special disciples. He spoke several times to His 12 close associates regarding the
work of what has developed through the Christian era as the office of the ministry.

Matthew records this incident: “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 the 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 9:36-38). This was really what got the ministry of pastors started.

When Jesus looked at people, He instantly knew that they needed to know the
compassion of the love of God a vast and deep compassion, but not a patronizing
compassion, for compassion is more than merely feeling somebody else’s trouble or
pain with them. It is lifting a banner above pain, guiding them to lift their sights to
the God who is the Lord over all including, most of all, the emptiness of life without
Him. And Jesus knew that the harvest of human souls was ready for the reaping, that
they were ready to hear the message of the Kingdom of God. “Pray earnestly,” He
said, “to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Given that the pastor has to claw and scratch for time to prepare for the opportunity
to let God speak through the sermon, do you know how it hurts pastors’ hearts that
so many in the flock of God are so careless about coming to be fed in this way, so
casual about hearing God’s Word in the gathered worshiping community of faith?
For, no matter who the pastor is, it is God who is speaking to His faithful when the
sermon is preached. No matter whom it is. No matter what is said. No matter how it
is said. No matter what the circumstances. No matter who the preaching pastor is, it
is God speaking to the faithful of Christ’s Church when the sermon is preached; and
it is the faithful listening who respond, in whatever way.

And the faithful are those who warm the pastor’s heart, for they are those who come
to the gathered worshiping community every time the opening song signals the
beginning of worship. How are we to respond to God’s Word preached and taught
faithfully? Jesus said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep
it!” (Luke 11: 28). Daily listen to God speak to you when you read and study and
meditate on God’s Word. Then talk to God all day long.

Our Weekly Prayer: Lord of the Harvest; send out more full-time church
workers into the harvest field to reap the harvest. Move us to daily read study
and meditate on Your Word and talk to You all day long. In Jesus’ name we
pray. Amen.