Matthew 9:35-38--And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
In the passage above are found two popular literary devices, the simile and the metaphor. The simile is found when the multitudes are described "as sheep having no shepherd." The metaphor is implied when Jesus equates soul winners and lost people to laborers and a harvest. In these simple comparisons are found simple truths, yet they are some of the most important truths we will ever run across in our lives.
First off, we need to see people the way Jesus does. He took notice of others' lives, a personal interest in those around Him. We too need to take interest in the lives of others instead of focusing on ourselves, not because we want to gossip about them or invade their privacy or criticize them, but because we care for them. Jesus paid attention to the needs of those around Him--most importantly their spiritual needs. He truly cared about everyone He met, whether He knew them or not. As Christians, we should view people like this too. We should take a personal interest in those around us because we--and God--love them, and we should try to help them. Most importantly, we should care about their ultimate spiritual need: forgiveness of their sins by God.
This is the most important application of the sheep-without-a-shepherd analogy. This comparison truly displays a pitiful state. Sheep without a shepherd are helpless. They have no defenses, they are weak, and they have no one to guide them or provide for them. They are completely open to attack. It's a perfect illustration for the lost. They are fully open to attack from the devil. They have no guide to take them to Heaven. They are weak and helpless. Even worse, they're walking straight into the wolf's den: Hell. We absolutely must see people the way Jesus did: Precious souls created in the image of God who will spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell. We must warn them of the impending danger. They are heading straight for Hell, and unless we introduce them to the Shepherd, they will be utterly lost.
This directly ties into the next point. Jesus goes on to describe the lost as a harvest, ripe and bountiful. Unfortunately, He also points out that laborers are few and far between. We know what happens to plants that become overripe. They rot, and eventually they are either wasted, mulched, or burned. This is what will happen to the lost, only much worse. They will spend their eternity burning in the torments of Hell. They can't save themselves; someone has to harvest them. We are called to be the laborers in the harvest. Unless we tell the lost about Jesus, they will not know how to be saved and will not be able to go to Heaven. We have been given the Gospel, and we have been given it to share with the world.
So, what position are you in? Do you view others the way God does? Are you laboring in the harvest? If not, don't put it off. Start today! Most importantly, are you even capable of being a harvester, or are you the one who needs to be harvested? Are you a shepherdless sheep? If so, know that there is no way you can get to Heaven on your own. Only by trusting Jesus as your Savior can you get there. Click the Salvation tab above for more information.
Thank you for reading. God bless you as you seek to set your heart on things above!