How often do we pray for our lost friends and family members? How often do we pray for those who are lost that we don't know? In Matthew 9:36-38 Jesus sees a crowd of people following Him and has compassion for them. If we are following Christ and becoming more like Christ, then we should have compassion for the lost just like He did.
See the Lost
We need to realize that we will never be able to truly have compassion for the lost in this world until we see them the way Jesus does. Jesus saw them as "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Until you see the people of this world as helpless and harassed you will never love them. We need to realize that the people who practice wickedness in the world only do so because they think that it will meet a need. They're harassed by their flesh and what it tells them they need. They are harassed by the Devil and what he says that they need. And they are harassed by the world and what it says they need. They go from fad to fad seeking pleasure and joy only to find that each of those things will eventually run dry and leave them wanting. We do the same thing when we get caught up in the things of this world. They are enticing, but we must remember that the LORD promised us life, and as long as we are following Him, we will have life.
Work the Harvest
Jesus didn't tell His disciples that the "harvest was plentiful, but the laborers are few," just so that they would go out and tell people to get to work. They needed to realize that they needed to be working. Many of us will think that someone else could do it better. And while that may be true, you are the one that God has placed in that situation. The harvest is wherever we are. We go to work, we are in the harvest. We go to the store, we are in the harvest. We go out to eat, we are in the harvest. We need to be mindful that we are always in the harvest. There is no place where we can say there is no work to be done. Jesus calls us to see the harvest so that we will get out and work it.
Pray for the Lost
Jesus tells His disciples to pray earnestly for the harvest. Pray earnestly means all the time. We need to make a daily practice of praying for the lost. We need to pray that God would reach out to them. We need to pray that God would use us. Remember Isaiah when God asked for someone to go. Isaiah jumped up and down and said, "Here I am, send me!" We need to be like that with the lost. We need to be like that with all the work of God. We need to be the over eager man or woman that can't wait for an opportunity to serve God.
The sad truth is that many would rather go to heaven on their lazy boy. My fear is that they missed part of the gospel. We were saved from darkness. Any other time that we have had bad consequences from something physical, we are quick to share that with others so that they don't make the same mistakes that we did. But when it comes to salvation, we don't want to offend anyone, so we just let them march to their doom. Instead of looking for the harvest, we try to avoid it. We see wickedness and we turn the other way. Instead of working, we wait for someone else to do the job. And instead of praying for them, we just hope they figure it out. We need to change. We need to see the lost as God sees them. We need to have compassion and care for them. We need to work to see them saved. It won't be easy, but it's worth the work. We need to pray for them so that God would move on their hearts and draw them to Himself.
I challenge all of us to make a daily practice of praying for all of the lost that we know. Make a list and bring those names before the LORD in prayer.