Cross and Flame - Christ (cross) and the Holy Spirit (flame).

Abundance of Jobs; Scarcity of Workers

Matthew 9:35-38

For the first time in a long time, there is an abundance of jobs and enough people to fill them.  With the right amount of skills and abilities, someone has a good chance of finding employment.  “For the first time in half a year, Texas’ jobless rate declined last month, amid a promising boost in manufacturing and energy sector work, the Texas Workforce Commission reported on Friday, June 16th.”  “All goods-producing industries showed positive employment growth,” Julian Alvarez, the Commissioner representing labor said in a statement.

On the other hand, as we look at our Scripture lesson for today, Jesus reports that there is a scarcity of spiritual leaders and guides for those who find themselves with a spiritual deficit.  With compassion he looks at the people and their physical state of being is not good.

The people are weary, worn, and lost.  They wander around with no purpose.  They seem to awaken each day to economic and social situations that overwhelm them and contribute to their unhappiness.  They have nothing to do and no hiding place.  There is no place of peace.

Those who have jobs are engulfed by fear.  They hear footsteps and there is no one there.  They hear noises and no one speaks.  They over think the actions of those they confront and someone ends up dead.  Their visions are clouded by anxiety.  The victims run out of fear and they end up dead.  Where is the spiritual caution light?

Created for purpose, they cannot latch onto who they really are and what their purpose really is.  There seems to be an ongoing quest for identity.  There is a desire to try to make some sense of this life, but where does one fit in?  How does one fit in?  Drugs are in abundance but their euphoria is temporary.  People are going in circles.  Is there any beginning or end to the madness?

This world is moving faster than anyone could ever imagine.  The boundaries between countries grow smaller each day.  World leaders seem to be more concerned about themselves than the people they govern.  Financial stability is a phrase here today and gone tomorrow.  Who’s in charge?

The methods of escapism have lost their thrill.  Life challenges produce evil, demonic actions that hurt others and destroy lives.  Everything that is said and done sets someone off.  The news is so full of disaster and tragedy that you look just to find out how close the evil has come to your own backyard.  Jesus looks at the people and they have grown weary and worn.

While the church has always stood for the presence of God in the world, they do not see the church as that spiritual refuge anymore.  Can anyone tell them about Jesus?

First Peter 3:15 gives us one answer: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

As the church of Jesus Christ in the earth, we need to know some things for ourselves so that we might share with others when things get discombobulated.  You have to hold on to who Christ is by faith for yourself so you can be a vessel of hope to the world.  Jesus looked out at the people and had compassion on them.  They were sick.  They were tired.  They were sick and tired.  Worn down and worn out.  Who will come to their rescue?

You notice He mentions sickness.  It lets us know that the body is weak and susceptible to many spiritual and natural diseases.  We are commanded to heal the sick.  Spiritual healing is necessary.  Some have grown up with the fear of God in them.  Some have grown up with no God believing that God is not necessary for us to have in our life.  Some have grown up knowing God as a miracle worker.  We have the thought process to make God anything that we want God to be, but I ask you to let God reveal God’s true self to you.

If you need a spiritual instructor, receive the Holy Spirit and let Him open your ears and eyes to the wonder of the almighty God.  In the midst of this chaos that we call life, let Him dwell in you richly and overflow to others.  It is all around you and for some of you, it is overflowing but you cannot see it because it is so natural to you.  Be open to the good things that others tell you about yourself and how you are a blessing to them.  It is the Lord working through you.  This is the awesome presence that is needed.  The harvest is ripe and laborers are needed.

As we look out, we are blessed that what we see is not as tragic as it really is.  We are in a nice part of town and do not see young women and men hanging on the street trying to make an honest living by dishonest means.  We do not hear gunshots all night long.  Who among us will talk to mothers who lose sons to stray bullets?  Who among the called of the Lord will talk to young men and suggest they just try Jesus?  The harvest is ripe and laborers are needed.

If we get them to church, are there any laborers around?  What can we offer?  Where are the Sunday School teachers?  Where are the young men who have been down that road and are now ready to share their lives for the good of others?  Where are the ones who will walk and talk with them?

Jesus says these are ones that have been neglected by friends, family and society.  They are scattered, tossed aside and left to the wolves of their world to devour.  Where are those who do not fear the wolves because the power of Jesus Christ is working in and through them?  Where are the intercessors?  Sometimes it is easier to pray for others than to pray for ourselves.  What are the promises of God for these lost sheep?  He loves them too.  Ironically, we ask, “why should it be this way”?  Why won’t God take care of them?  Why does it have to get to this place?

God created ALL creation and called it “good” but not “perfect”.  That word can only be assigned to Jesus Christ.  Everything is created with a good and bad side.  Nature is good but nature can be a deadly force.  Winds can blow softly; winds can create tornadoes and hurricanes.  Rain is refreshing and necessary for growth, but too much rain can create an imbalance in rivers and lakes and floods happen.  Electricity can create the energy needed to make the air conditioners flow, but if not handled correctly, electricity can kill you.

Humanity is the handiwork of God that can help maintain balance.  The mind God has given us is awesome.  It takes all of us with the gifts and talents that have been given to us to maintain the balance of good and bad on the earth.  Ironically, humankind creates a lot of the good and bad.  But God, in God’s infinite wisdom, has put it in our hands and the question is, “What are we doing with it?”

God left humankind here to tend to the things of the earth.  He has given us the Holy Spirit so we don’t have to go it alone.  We need the Holy Spirit to do the spiritual things of God.  God is a God of revelation.  God wants to reveal God’s self to you so you can have the power needed to be the disciple you are purposed to be.  There are many people out there looking to know Jesus.  If you desire to do the work, just open your mouth and speak the things of the Lord.  Open your arms and embrace others with the love of Christ.  Take their hand and lead them to Jesus.

May that presence be found in you and at Wheatland United Methodist Church.

Amen.