What is God’s Plan for Your Life?

What do you think of when you hear those words, ‘God’s plan for your life’?

Backpack

Where does this idea for God’s having a plan for your life come from? Many Christians cling to the verse in Jeremiah:
I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

How do you see this applying to you? What is God’s plan for your life?

Context

These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. (Jeremiah 29:1)
Judah is in exile, including Daniel and his companions. Verse 11 comes in the text of a letter sent by Jeremiah from Jerusalem to exiled Judah.

The ‘you’ of verse 11 is plural, the promise of verse 11 is very specific in those to whom it is being made, the exiles. If it is for us at all it is global and for the church, not for the individual.

If you want verse 11 to be a promise to you, you must also have the previous 28 chapters, because they lead up to and contextualise verse 11. They are full of warnings and exhortations, accusations, threat of drought, condemnation, and judgement. It isn’t pretty. One example is Jeremiah 16:3-4
For thus says the LORD concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning the mothers who bore them and the fathers who fathered them in this land: They shall die of deadly diseases. They shall not be lamented, nor shall they be buried. They shall be as dung on the surface of the ground. They shall perish by the sword and by famine, and their dead bodies shall be food for the birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth.

Jeremiah 29:11 is not about God’s perfect plan for your individual life but about restoration of the rebellious people after 70 years in exile.

God had miraculously brought Abraham’s descendants out of the house of slavery and commanded them ‘now live like this,’ giving them the Law through Moses. The Law didn’t bring people to God, God brought people to himself then gave them the Law.

… Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” (Exodus 19:3-6)

The law describes how a saved people live.

Leviticus 26:31-33 describes what God will do if his people reject his laws and violate the covenant.
And I will lay your cities waste and will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your pleasing aromas. And I myself will devastate the land, so that your enemies who settle in it shall be appalled at it. And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you, and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste.

Leviticus 26:40-42 describes how God will, nevertheless, keep his promises and restore his people.
But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies–if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.

God’s plans are never thwarted.

Even though we might take comfort from the general understanding that we are in God’s hands and care – in all things God works for the good of those that love him (Romans 8:28) – we cannot reasonably apply this verse to us. It is an example of what has come to be known as narcissegesis, the made up word to describe someone who makes all Scripture revolve around themselves.

If God doesn’t have a plan specific to my life what does he have? Is there a plan at all?

making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:9-14)

This is the plan and purpose of God. At the centre of that purpose is Christ.

How do I fit into that plan?

God may yet have a specific purpose for particular individuals in church service, mission, etc. But what does the purposeful Christian life look like when there isn’t a specific ‘plan for my life’?

See next week.

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Find out more at www.annmariethomas.me.uk

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Better Than a Hallelujah

A song to think about this week, by Amy Grant, with a heartrending video – keep a tissue handy!

God loves a lullaby
In a mothers tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
God loves a drunkards cry,
The soldiers plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

The woman holding on for life,
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
The tears of shame for what’s been done,
The silence when the words won’t come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody

Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

Better than a church bell ringing,
Better than a choir singing out, singing out.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

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Love and Relationships

Holding hands

Have you heard the joke about the man who stopped someone to ask for directions and was was told, ‘If I was going there, I wouldn’t start from here.’? In our life journey, God tells us where to start and we don’t have to guess how to get there.

In the beginning God… created man in his own image. (Genesis 1:1,27)
But mankind got lost. Then Jesus came from God.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:4,12)

God reconciled us when we fell and got lost. Put us back on the right path. In our life journey we need to start with the love of God and the guidance of his word. He doesn’t leave us where we are. We make huge mistakes without his word.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:9-17)

Right now there are sex scandals in the arts, sport and politics. Marriage and relationships are being redefined. We have to start from what God has to say. God’s relationship to the church is the ideal of what our relationships should aspire to. Marriage is between a man and a woman and should be based on love and faithfulness.

Marriage is a temporary institution but what it stands for lasts forever. John Piper

The Church has messed up and failed in this area. Any way that does not start with the word of God is doomed to fail.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)

There is a chorus written by Ishmael that says, ‘Father God I wonder how I managed to exist without the knowledge of your parenthood and your loving care.’

Don’t allow the world to define where you stand on gender and relationships. If you disagree please be open to what God has to say.

Some recommended books:

Loving Against the OddsRob Parsons Loving Against the Odds 

Tim & Kathy Keller The Meaning of Marriage The Meaning of Marriage

True FriendshipVaughan Roberts True Friendship 

Reclaiming FriendshipAjith Fernando Reclaiming Friendship 

The Plausibility ProblemEd Shaw The Plausiblity Problem the church and same-sex attraction 



These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11)

God is not saying ‘guess the way’ and is not expecting us to simply endure until the end, but promises us joy placed in our hearts and which is complete. 

God created us and knows what is best for us.

[adapted from a sermon by Pete Orphan at Pantygwydr Baptist Church]

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Find out more at www.annmariethomas.me.uk

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Responding to the Love of God

God loves you, no buts.

How should we respond?

We understand that our understanding of the love is limited by our experience. We are limited by our vocabulary – I love my wife and I love curry. Other languages have more than one word. The Greek of the New Testament has several, for example: eros which is sexual love, phileo which is brotherly love, and agape which is the sacrificial, unconditional love of God.

Crown of thorns heart

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:9-17)

Jesus said, ‘As the Father has loved me so I have loved you. Abide in my love.’ He wants us to stay in his love.

The replica football shirts that fans can buy are mass produced. They are not the same as a real shirt worn by one of the players. Jesus love is real not a replica.

The chorus of the John Legend song All of Me starts with love like God’s but then makes a bargain. This is not like God, who loves us unconditionally.

‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh oh

Martin Luther said, ‘Sinners are attractive because they are loved; they are not loved because they are attractive.’

Greater love has no man than that he gives up his life for his friend. (John 15:13)

Do you know that love? You can come and accept that love. The work is already done.

Abide in my love = be at home in my love.

Jesus wants to be a friend.

Tim Keller said, ‘He always lets you in and he never lets you down.

[adapted from a sermon by Gaynor Maclean at Pantygwydr Baptist Church]

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Find out more at www.annmariethomas.me.uk

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Roads part 2

This is the second part of the sermon by my husband Michael Thomas. If you haven’t read the first part go here.

road

Egypt

As believers, as we do determine to follow after God, we soon find it isn’t, even now, an easy road. We have each other to deal with. When the world does us harm we consider it a privilege to suffer for and with the Lord. We remember Jesus saying, ‘No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.’ (Jn.15:20) But who hasn’t been hurt by church? damaged by God’s family? Just as Joseph, who was, himself, not without fault, became victim to his brothers’ jealousy, so we must come to terms with the fact that the people around us, even the people of God, may harm us when we expected them to help.

Like Joseph, we may find ourselves suddenly in a deep, dark place, confused by what has just happened, on a journey we never planned to take, sold out by those we trusted, in a prison, with a deep sense of injustice having been perpetrated by those we have faithfully served. We are on the road to Egypt, the road no one wants to take because it seems so full of peril, danger, and harm, so far, surely, from what we thought were God’s purposes. Canaan, the fulfilment of his promises, deliverance, life, abundance. Where is all that now?

Canaan

The road to Canaan for the people of God may well lead us through the perils of Egypt, but what was intended for ill, God turns to the good. Paul reminds us, ‘All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ (Ro.8:28 KJV)

The road to Canaan may lead us through desert places, but do we trust him that his promises are sure, or are we even now glancing back at Egypt? Have we the faith and perseverance to continue to call on God, even as the world crowds in around us, even as family lets us down, even as we are called on to live day-by-day, not knowing what the future holds, but confident he holds the future? Do we have an eternal perspective? Can we say, with Paul, ‘Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.’

Back to Babylon

Much more dangerous than the bad times are the good times. History teaches us that a Christian in an armchair, with a full larder, a soft bed, a familiar religion, and good neighbours, soon forgets his God. In those fruitful times, in those days when blessings rain down, do we, like Israel, quickly forget that Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.‘ (Js.1:17)

A people who forget their God soon find themselves back on the road to Babylon, to exile in Babylon. Here is the danger for the believer, the temptation to fall back in step with the world and its ways. Remember the times, the many times, when Israel thought to serve the God of Abraham with the religious practices of the pagan society around them? The high places, the sacred gardens, the Ashera poles, the desperate compromises.

There is a trap into which we are prone to stumble during the comfortable times, the confusion of decency with Christianity…Decency avoids hurting people’s feelings. It looks for compromise and reconciliation.

‘They are my neighbours,’ says decency, ‘good people, how can I criticise, how can I refuse their invitation to join in with them? These ways are good enough ways, what harm is there?’

But there are times when we may have to hurt people’s feelings, when compromise is wrong and reconciliation impossible. The road back, the road back, compromise is the road back to Babylon, to exile, but we too often find ourselves on that road.

Back to Canaan

Remember how Paul wrote about our being, ‘by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our transgression…’ (Eph.:2:33-4) Like the father of the Prodigal, God is filled with mercy for the returned exile. Perhaps this is you today. Maybe you have come to realise that you are not, as you thought, living like royalty, but living like the common heard, eating swill and thinking it a banquet. Like the Prodigal’s father, God waits earnestly, at the head of the road, watching for your return.

Calvary

The older brother in that story of the Prodigal threw his toys out of the pram, rather than take responsibility and rejoice with dad that his younger brother was back. Being a Christian comes with the responsibility to be gracious towards with the weaker brother, to be grateful for all the Father has given and promised us, to be patient as we await our inheritance, when Christ comes again. This is the cross Jesus challenges us to take up every day:

‘If anyone would come after me,’ he said, ‘he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his very self?’ (Lk.9:23-25)

In another place Jesus said, ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’ (Jn.16:33)

Pentecost

Just in case anyone runs away with the idea this is all about the great bye-and-bye, we still have the road to Pentecost to walk. Pentecost, where the promises of God began to be realised among the saints. When the promised Spirit came down on the people of God and they went out and turned the world upside down. Paul describes the coming of the Holy Spirit as, ‘a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the praise of his glory.’ (Eph.1:14)

This is the right and should be the experience of all who, having heard, come to him in faith, confess their sin, seek forgiveness and redemption, and are now included in that great body of people, the saints of God from every people, place, and time. ‘No more foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household…’ (Eph.2:19)

There is this idea, especially prevalent among former cult members, that your journey begins when you kneel at the foot of the cross. That there are, behind me, so many wasted years. But God was with Abraham in Babylon, already speaking to him.

God was with Jacob, even as he fled to Haran, standing atop a ladder, promising, ‘I am Jehovah, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.’ (Gen.28:13-14)

God was with Joseph, even as he was led away into servitude in Egypt. What his brothers meant for harm, God turned to good.

God was with Israel, hearing their cry. He was with Moses, even as he fled to Midian and wrestled to be free of his destiny as the leader of God’s people.

God was with his people, in the desert, in battle, in their troubles and travails long before they reached the promised land.

God was with them as they went into exile, speaking to them through prophets, warning them of false prophets, schooling them in how to live, even as they were far from Canaan.

There are no wasted years from his perspective, all are finally bent to his will, to serve his eternal purposes. The Lord has promised, ‘I will restore the years the locust as eaten.’ (Joel 2:25)

Damascus

Even today, God is calling us out of the world, into his purposes. Will we, like Paul on the road to Damascus, need to be knocked off our horse, like Jacob, be wrestled to the ground, before we bend the knee and acknowledge he is Lord?

Emmaus

Will we, like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, think seriously on these things, open even in our doubts, to the possibility we might yet meet with him along the journey?

Or will we, like Abraham, hear the call and answer with a simple act of obedience, trusting our lives, our eternity, to him?

The Table

However we come, our journey is not at its end. There is work to do, a cross to bear, a message of life to tell a dying world. We look forward to that time when he will appear and, as the Good Book promises, ‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ (Rev.21:4)

Until that time, we are invited to gather at his table to remember his sacrifice, to know his presence with us even now, and to remember the great and glorious eternity he has won for us.

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Find out more at www.annmariethomas.me.uk

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Roads part 1

This is a sermon given by my husband, Michael Thomas. I thought it so good and thought-provoking, I wanted to share it. Because of the length, it’s in two parts. Part 2 next week.

Signpost

I wonder how you got here this morning, which route you took. I imagine it was a familiar road, the one you take every Sunday. Perhaps, as you sit and think about it now, you don’t even remember the details of the journey. Perhaps the only reason you can be confident you took it at all is that you are here at your destination. That lapse of concentration in the midst of the familiar is a common enough experience. Distracted by our thoughts and plans, we travel a road so apparently familiar we barely know we are on it.

It was the Spanish born, American philosopher, George Santayana, who famously remarked, ‘Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.’ I want to share this morning some things God has been showing me about the roads we take in life, roads we perhaps didn’t notice we were travelling until we benefited from the gift of hindsight.

Eden

We have all walked the road out of Eden. This is one of the hardest concepts for people to grasp, but the Bible tells us that we were all ‘in Adam’ when Adam sinned. Paul unpacks this idea for us in Romans 5 and its well worth your time spending a little time in this key New Testament chapter. It helps, perhaps, to think that the seed of Abraham was already in Abraham before ever that seed became a reality in this world. So it is that, when Adam walked out of Eden, we walked with him. We were ‘in Adam.’ Paul carefully explains the consequences of that journey, ‘the result of one transgression was condemnation for all men.’ (Ro.5:18)

The world is the way it is because we all travelled that road out of Eden. That journey has put us at odds with the God who made us, apparently frustrating the purpose of God in creation, at war with ourselves, and with each other. Paul, again, describes us as, ‘by nature objects of wrath.’ (Eph.2:3) and is it any wonder? He goes on to write, ‘But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our transgression…’ (Eph.:2:4) We will look at that again later.

Babylon

Then we have the road out of Babylon, the road travelled by Abraham, the father of the faithful, when he heard and obeyed the voice of God. As I witness to a good friend and neighbour, as I listen to his questions and witness his struggle to understand, I am convinced God has a hand on his life, is calling him. I doubt he has yet stopped to ask himself why these questions are so important to him. Perhaps that will form the next stage in our conversation. The French polymath and theologian Blaise (bless) Pascal said we all have a God-shaped hole in us. The North African theologian Augustine confessed to God, ‘You have made us for yourself, and we cannot rest until we find our rest in you.’

God is, today, calling people out of this world, out of Babylon. Just like my neighbour, they don’t yet realise, perhaps, but there must be a response, this road must be walked if we are to find our purpose, fill the God-shaped hole that has us hunger for answers, find the rest this fallen world can never deliver. Like Abraham, we must decide whether we will answer that call to go where God will lead. Perhaps that is you today. Maybe you are asking questions, seeking answers. Have you considered that, in your questioning, you are hearing the voice of God? Calling you out of Babylon, calling you out of the world, and into his purposes?

Haran

Of course, it seems inevitable not everyone readily answers God’s call. How many times do we find people raising their heads and starting to ask questions about eternal things, only to duck down again into their busy lives, to lose themselves in the me, the here, the now? People go their own way, follow their own plans, and find themselves on the road to Haran. Like the sly swindler Jacob, who lied about his own identity, and stole brother Esau’s birthright, they are fleeing the consequences of their fallen, sinful lives, sure of a fresh start, convinced the past will not catch up with them. Like Jacob, they make a life for themselves, get a job, marry, have children. When it comes to God, they try not to think too much about it. Perhaps a little religion at Christmas and Easter, weddings and funerals.

This is where cults find recruits. When we are away from the Lord, yet we still restlessly seek significance and meaning, along comes a cult to give you some piece of wreckage dressed up as exclusive insights, secret knowledge, empty hope to cling to and keep you away from the Lord.

Canaan

If we are wise, we will finally find ourselves on the road back to Canaan. Like Jacob, determined to make peace with our past, to finally do business with God.

‘Oh, but I have messed up so badly. I have lied, and cheated, betrayed those who loved me, deceived those who trusted me. If you knew my heart you would want nothing to do with me. How can I go back?’

Because we go back to the God who promises, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.’ (Is.1:18) We may flee our past, run from our sins, seek fresh starts, but finally this world offers no hope to the fugitive. The peace we so earnestly desire is found in Canaan, in the sure promises of God to bless the penitent, to receive the humble sinner who acknowledges their sin. Is that you today? Are you fleeing from the God who is already there in Haran even before you arrive? How can we flee such a God? Come back to Canaan, where God always intended you to be. Come back into his promises, and purposes.

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Find out more at www.annmariethomas.me.uk

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Do More

Schindlers List

In the 1993 film Schindler’s List, at the end of the film when Schindler is leaving he bursts into tears at the thought that he could have done more. He could have sold his car and used it to buy the freedom of another Jew. His friend comforts him, pointing out how much he had already done.

There is an old hymn from the Baptist Hymnal.

I’ll Wish I Had Given Him More

By and by when I look on His face,
Beautiful face, thorn shadowed face;
By and by when I look on His face,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.
More, so much more,
More of my life than I e’er gave before
By and by when I look on His face,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.

By and by when He holds out His hands,
Welcoming hands, nail riven hands;
By and by when He holds out His hands,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.
More, so much more,
More of my love than I e’er gave before,
By and by when He holds out His hands,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.

In the light of that heavenly place,
Light from His face, beautiful face;
In the light of that heavenly place,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.
More, so much more,
Treasures unbounded for Him I adore,
By and by when I look on His face,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.

God has a place for each of us in his plans, but we sometimes lose sight of that. From time to time we need to offer ourselves anew.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)

How is it people see things so differently? Others saw a random crowd of people. Jesus saw the hearts of the people. Distressed sheep, scattered sheep, battered and bruised. They should be at rest in the Father’s pasture.

Compassion is feeling what others feel.

In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. (Isaiah 63:9)

In the following verses the metaphor switches to harvest.

Harvest

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.” (Matthew 9:37‭-‬38)

In our church Harvest Festival service we brought three different things:
1. Shoe boxes packed with gifts for Romania, to be delivered to children who don’t have what our children have.
2. Non-perishable food (boxes, packets and tins) for the Food Bank, which helps people who don’t have enough money to pay their bills and eat.
3. Money, to use wherever it is needed. The shoeboxes need money for transport, the Food Bank can buy items that aren’t donated, and there are loads of other places the money can be used.
They are all ways of reaching out to people with the love of God and so to reach them with the gospel.

Jesus was moved to compassion more by the ravages of sin.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

The devil prowls around all of us, but those who don’t belong to Jesus have a much harder time. Sin leads to despair. Jesus came to save his people from their sin.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

It was his mission and it is our mission.

For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:9)

We must see the divine intention on every human face, through the hopelessness. There is no hopelessness for the Christian.

We need to see what he sees, feel what he feels.

Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. (John 4:35)

This world is in a terrifying situation for those who are without Jesus. We must do as Jesus would do.

The last word in this passage is to pray.

“pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:38)

  • The harvest is plentiful
  • The harvest is precious
  • The harvest is perishing
  • The harvest is a priority 

When we live as Christians we express Christ in an unconscious way even without speaking.

God wants each of us to be co-workers with him. We need to do more.

[based on a sermon by Gaynor Maclean at Pantygwydr Baptist Church]

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Find out more at www.annmariethomas.me.uk

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