January 09, 2015


Matthew 9:35-38

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

—  Matthew 9:36

Are you too busy? It is hard to imagine many people answering "no" to that question today. Our lives are filled with things to do, places to go, people to meet. The distraction of all these things can overwhelm us.

We were created with a clear purpose in life: to care for the world and for one another. But then sin came in and distorted our sense of purpose.

Life comes at us quickly, and we often respond by just trying to keep up. Whether it's the "rat race" at work, extracurricular activities with our kids, or other commitments, there are always more distractions and demands on our time.

The harassment of all this is not new to our generation, though. Jesus walked among people who were overburdened with the stresses of life; they needed comfort, help, and rest. And "he had compassion on them, because they were . . . like sheep without a shepherd."

Jesus pays attention to people's needs. And like a good shepherd, he tends, provides, guides, heals, and shares his love with all. He also points his followers to God's work in restoring purpose to tired lives. He urges us to pray for all whom God wants to raise up as workers to share his good news of salvation and new life. Are you refocused and engaged in this empowering ­adventure?

Compassionate God, we are often worn and weary. We need your help and hope. Restore us through the good news of Jesus, and guide us and others to share his message. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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