Merciful God, I end this day grateful for the many ways you have been revealed to me. As I prepare for rest, may I reflect on today and become aware of times I was faithful to your covenant. Forgive me for the times I was unfaithful. As my life faces the quiet and stillness of the dark, may I know that you, O God, are as present in the night as you are in the day. Grant me a rest that can only come from you. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Daily Archives: July 13, 2021
Philippians 2:1-11 (NRSV)
Imitating Christ’s Humility
2 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8 he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Matthew 9:32-38 (NRSV)
Jesus Heals One Who Was Mute
32 After they had gone away, a demoniac who was mute was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the one who had been mute spoke; and the crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.”
The Harvest Is Great, the Laborers Few
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
“Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Matthew 9:38)
Be careful what you pray for; you might be called upon to answer your own prayer! Or as one paraphrase renders the verse right after today’s Gospel, “The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered. Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields” (Matthew 10:1).
Intercession may be a very important form of prayer, but we need to remember that all prayer originates with Jesus and not with us. When a need strikes us, whether we see that need in the world, the Church, our neighborhood, or our family, we can be confident that this need is on Jesus’ own heart. He is the One who has opened our eyes to it and moved us to pray for this need to be met.
Sometimes we clearly know what to pray for: “Heal this sickness, Lord.” “Let food aid get through to this starving child.” “Give me the strength to make the right decision.” But other times we don’t know how to pray; we just sense that something is wrong and that we need to take action. The best thing we can do in these situations is to place it in God’s hands and ask him to act in whatever way he knows is best.
Intercessory prayer is a beautiful way to work with the harvest master, but it’s not the only way. As we pray for people, we can also ask, “Lord, is there something you want me to do for him or her?”
Jesus loves it when we bring people’s needs before him. It shows that we aren’t concerned only for ourselves. It shows that our vision is broadening to the world around us and that our hearts are becoming more like his. Jesus loves it even more when we roll up our sleeves and try to help the people we are praying for – again, because that’s exactly what he did for us. It may not always be easy, it may cost us some of our time and energy. But at the same time, it is very rewarding to work alongside Jesus, the master of the harvest.
Jesus, thank you for the needs you are laying on my heart. Help me find the courage to take action as well. Amen.