Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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March 15 – More Shepherds and Laborers

“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.’” Mark 9:36-38

Devotional Thought For The Day

Though most of human life still follows orderly patterns – traffic, people going to work, returning home, following structure and protocol at work, and tolerating lines, when it comes to the basic issues of morality, proper interface with God, knowing Him, and understanding His gracious and loving will for all human beings, people today are very much as Jesus describes them, “like sheep without a shepherd.” With the breakdown of the family, the high incidence of divorce, of single parent homes, the erosion of values within our culture and educational institutions, moral and spiritual training has to a large degree evaporated, and so many people are left on their own to just “figure it out.” Having received such “training” for life, many people don’t even want a “shepherd” – and like ornery sheep reject virtually all proper guidance and direction. They truly are “sheep without a shepherd” and have no idea how vulnerable and miserable such a circumstance truly is.

The reality is that there are a significant number of “wolves” out there in the world seeking to prey on the “sheep,” and while most people are able to cope with physical threats, very few are able to fend off the moral and spiritual threats. The wolves are of two varieties: 1] the wolves who deceive and lead people into grossly immoral traps, so that they are devoured in sin, lust, greed, selfishness, self-indulgence, and death, and 2] the white wolves who pose as shepherds and guides, who are eager to deceive and lead those people who are looking for guidance into highly “moral” traps, so that they are devoured by false religion, humanly invented religious behaviors, self-righteousness, idolatry, misbelief, and are entombed in the spiritual death of impenitence and unbelief. Gazing out upon the masses today, we see exactly what Jesus saw – that unless the LORD sends out laborers, His own shepherds, Satan and the rest of his wolves have their evil way with people.

The wolves are more aggressive and committed to their cause than the sheep are.  The sheep just want to live, munch their way through life, and be left alone; the wolves are hungry, eager to devour, and their appetite for causing human misery and malaise is bottomless. It is a very sad reality that people have far greater pleasure in doing evil – whether gross immorality or deluded religion, than they have in knowing God, learning His will, and being His dear children through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. So we too must pray that the LORD of the harvest would send even more laborers out into “His harvest” – for the potential harvest is “plentiful.”

The life of the shepherds of the LORD is quite difficult and dangerous. There are the wolves to contend with – all of them, many of both types, who recognize that the shepherds of the LORD oppose them and impede their evil desire to murder souls.  Some of these wolves pose themselves in “sheep’s clothing” but “inwardly are ravenous wolves” [Matt. 7:15], and some even infiltrate the flock of God; and while the sheep have teeth and hooves which they at times use in stubborn rebellion against the shepherds, the false prophets have real teeth and seek to inflict real damage and harm, even death. Likewise, our sinful flesh makes us all rebellious sheep who seek to “stray,” so that “each turns to his own way” [Is. 53:6], and so the task of shepherding and bringing in a harvest [to mix metaphors], is difficult and laborious. But all who labor in the LORD know that their work is not in vain [1 Cor. 15:58], for Christ Himself has promised to build His church on their profession and proclamation of the true Gospel [good news] of the forgiveness of sins, and God’s gift of redemption and eternal life in Christ Jesus [Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 1:21].

So let us do as Jesus bids – and pray that the LORD increase the number of His shepherds in the world.  When the LORD shepherds us let us take care not to rebel against His Word.  And as we have opportunity to shepherd others in God’s Word, let us be good shepherds, faithful and true.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, when we consider Your sorrow over the hapless plight of unbelieving humanity, we struggle with the mystery of Your will and Your plan to minister to people. We are among those who need Your ministry, Your shepherding. We also have opportunities to shepherd and minister to others. We share Your sorrow over the condition of human hearts, and the misery that sin and the devil inflict on people. So we pray, Lord, send more of Your laborers and shepherds! Amen.