35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
Thoughts: There are many needs that Jesus sees. He has compassion on people. Jesus had sympathy on people, and sees the need to get help for them. Jesus sought to multiply the help he was bringing. Jesus saw the people as harrassed and helpless. How were they harassed and helpless? They were like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord is our shepherd who leads us to the rest of green pastures, quiet waters, and through the valley of the shadow of death. Jesus mixed a mataphor of farming and ranching- reaping a harvest and leading sheep. But the point is the same- the people are in need of being led to the Great Shepherd of the sheep, and Jesus wants laborers. The first and primary step is to ask God to raise laborers up. The need for our day is not just to have a plan and labor hard. The Lord's work, needs the Lord's guidance, the Lord's help, and the Lord's blessing. On this day off- this Labor Day- let us pray... that God will raise up laborers.
Pray: Lord, we need you, your wisdom, strength, and blessing. Raise up workers who will do your work of helping people back to you- the Great Shepherd of the Sheep. Today, Lord, we recognize that all work is a gift from you. Help our country to see that we need your help and to look to you for work. We pray for those who are unemployed and looking for work. We ask that you would be a source of strength and courage for them, and guide them to the right job at the right time. Help us, O Lord, to live our lives and do our work for your honor and glory.
John Calvin abridged: There were a number of priests of his day who gloried in the title of pastor but were lazy gluttons as Christ indicated there were no shepherds and the sheep (the people) were wandering. Christ's being moved with compassion shows that He is a true servant of God and was fulfilling his mission of bringing salvation to his people. Christ has not abandoned the care of his Church, but looks after his wandering sheep, or rather- He gathers His flock which had been cruelly torn by wolves. "The harvest is plentiful" means that many of the people are ripe for the receiving of the gospel. Though their number is limited- God values a small band of his own followers than the rest of the world. "Pray for laborers"- As no person will of themselves become a sincere and faithful minister of the gospel, and they need the Lord to raise them up and endow them with the gifts of the Spirit- so whenever we observe a shortage of pastors we must raise our eyes to Him.