35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35-38
When we persistently approach life from a position of strength it won’t be long till we hate the helpless. Our denial of weakness demands contempt for both ourselves and others who fail. We will gravitate toward the “wisdom” of self-help gurus who support our moral superiority and remove our need for God.
The Gospel of Jesus confronts our view of God, people and ourselves. Simultaneously from God’s point of view, we see the extraordinary worth of people and the devastating incapacitation of their lostness. Jesus recognized the lostness of people and he had compassion for them. He knew they could not help themselves out of their spiritual alienation from God. People require grace.
I fear our response is so different. We really hate the helpless. We don’t want to believe they are helpless or harassed, like sheep without a shepherd. Why? Perhaps because we still have a sneaky faint-hope clause buried in our mind, holding out for a self-created salvation and validation. If that’s true we deny grace and we refuse to enter fully into the salvation given us by Jesus. And for sure, we will excuse ourselves from the Lord’s harvest field. Our motto will be “Let them save themselves.”
Yet, its true, I cannot save myself or enter fully into relationship with God by my own design. While I may appear to be the captain of “this ship” through life, I lack what is required to enter into life with God. I need a Saviour. I need a Shepherd. I need Jesus. So I am giving thanks today for the One who loves me and gave Himself for me that I may live loved. I’m thankful He did not hate helpless.