Jesus sees and Jesus acts, do we?
When Jesus sees the crowds He is moved with compassion. The word behind compassion has no one English equivalent. It means compassion, pity, and sympathy and more. It is a visceral, gut-grabbing kind of compassion. Why don’t we see this way? The answer – sin. Sin blinds. It can blind in numerous ways to the crowds all around us. Prejudice, racism, hatred are all obvious blinders, but selfishness, materialism, and lust are equally as effective.
God’s Word, especially the truth of the gospel, helps us to see. We have to be taught to see. We have to be sanctified to see. Other tools are helpful as well, perhaps none more so than Operation World.
So what do you see when you look at the Muslim world? The Hindu world? The Buddhist world? The materialistic, pluralistic, atheistic, humanistic world? Are you moved deeply in your gut with compassion? When you look at India do you see the largest concentration and variety of the least-reached peoples on earth? Do you even look at India? When you look at Afghanistan do you see the 48,000 mosques, the absence of even one church building, and 70 unreached peoples? When you look at Africa do you see 13 of the worlds 20 least-evangelized countries? Do you see the 240 million Bengali who comprise the largest unreached people in the world? Yet, these statistics mean nothing if we have not been gripped by the glory of the gospel, that God saves sinners, for there is no one else to save.
But Jesus not only sees, He acts. His action is a call for action. He calls for His disciples to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send laborers into His harvest. Some might see the need as so great and say, “What? Pray? That’s it?” No prayer is not to be our only action, but it is to be our first and greatest action. John Bunyan said, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” Prayer calls down heavenly firepower, the only firepower that can storm the gates of hell, advance the kingdom, and rescue captives. The greatest doers are the greatest prayers, relying on power from above and not from within. God may bless in spite of us, but when we pray we will most often get what we can do – nothing (John 15:5)! But when we pray we get what God can do. The harvest is God’s. He sends out laborers, He gathers in the nations. Prayer is our greatest weapon. Nations are won because of prayer.
But Jesus’ action doesn’t end in His calling his disciples to prayer. He then answers that prayer in authorizing and sending His disciples to proclaim and act. We must be willing to be God’s answer to our own prayers. Really we should all be the answer to this prayer, the question isn’t whether or not we should be involved in world missions, but to what extent should we be involved? Really our hearts should be burning with desire asking, “To what extent can I be involved?” We shouldn’t have to wrestle so much with going to the mission field as much as staying here.
Do you see? Do you pray? Do you act? Do you proclaim? Do you act?
Do you sing?
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
– Psalm 67:1-3