June 18

20 Jun

Matthew 9:35-10:8

The Workers Are Few

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on 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 workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

10 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.




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

I used to have a pretty good life, as our culture defines a good life.  Once upon a time, I never had to worry about how I was going to get my next meal.  I never had to worry about transportation issues, or if I could afford a cup of coffee.  I was able to go see a movie whenever I wanted.  I could even afford to take vacation trips.  Money was just not something I had to worry about.  I wasn’t rich by any measure, but I wasn’t poor.


I found myself homeless in 2005, suffering from addiction and mental illness.  I was scared.  I didn’t know how to be homeless.  I didn’t even have control of my own mind.  I found myself having to rely on others to help me, for I was lost.  


I got help from services, but it was only thanks to other people who were experiencing homelessness that I was able to find those services.  Those who had already experienced this world that was new to me became my guides.  I was helpless and I survived thanks to the people who I encountered who were generous with their knowledge.


I’m fortunate to have found the resources to get myself homed, and my addiction and mental illness treated.  I couldn’t do it alone, though I certainly had to work to get to where I am now.  


“Freely you have received; freely give.”


I received help from support organizations and from people who had experienced what I was experiencing.  I’m so grateful for all I received.  


I now try to freely give as best I can.  Through my own struggles, I saw the harassment and helplessness.   Through our shared struggles, I gained compassion for the harassed and helpless.  


We’re all sheep, in the sense spoken of in this scripture.  But we can all be shepherds as well.  And many here already are.  While I have taken up the calling to work to help this community, this community still helps me every day.  I was so scared when I first became part of this community through reluctance and forced circumstances.  You welcomed me, comforted me, guided me, taught me.  And you still do so.  I continue to rely on this community.  I continue to receive.  



[I might not use this.  I sometimes feel I’m best unscripted.  I think instead I might just tell a bit more of my personal story.  I want to tell how I got to this community, what that felt like, how I’ve transformed and how, and why I want to continue in ministry to give back to the community that continues to lift me up.]


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