If you know anything about the Olympics, you're probably like me and are in awe of what those athletes are able to accomplish. When you look at the speed, precision, and power that they compete with at this level, it can make your mouth drop at how effortless it seems. They break records and hit milestones easily, and they leave us wondering how someone can be human and still do the things they do.
If you ask any of them what helped them get to where they are, one thing they would all point to is their training. Something had to happen before the competition began. They've spent years (!) going to bed early, getting up early, watching what they eat, lifting weights, doing interval training - the list goes on and on. And then the day comes - they're at the starting line, waiting for the official to give the signal...this is the moment they've been waiting for. This is where they stand there, waiting to hear "Get ready, Get set, Go". When it comes to following Jesus, the same can be said of us.
In Matthew 9, Jesus has begun to show us what our training should look like. He has been going around teaching and preaching and healing, and great crowds began to show up because of it. What He did next reveals His goal for us - He is looking for people to get involved. We can't sit on the sidelines and gawk at others who are giving their all...He is asking us to do the same! Read it for yourselves and see who He is talking to (and when you realize He is talking to you, start asking Him how you should get involved).
"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, Ask The Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field." (Matthew 9:35-38)
If you'll allow me to paraphrase here, I think He was saying "Get ready, Get set, Go!" As you pray this week, ask The Lord of the Harvest to place His fire in you so you'll know how to do the same thing.
Get ready - Jesus went to them to do His work, and we need to do the same. We can't sit back on our laurels and wait for them to come to us all the time...there are times when we need to go to them. Before we do, we had better be asking Him to help us get ready to do that. Before we can reach people that don't know Him, we better be asking Him to train us to make us people that live like we know Him. So when you invite Jesus to speak to you this week, ask Him to come where you are and teach and preach to you about what He wants to happen in your life. And while you're at it, ask Him to heal you of anything that may be holding you back from accomplishing His goals for you. Ask Him to get you ready!
Get set - As He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them. Following Jesus means, at some point, you have to actually be ready to get close to people that aren't following Him. Once that moment comes, it isn't time to get ready to train. That is the time to be ready to do what He has called you to do to reach people He has called you to reach. And just in case you haven't noticed it, there are people out there where you go and work and live and play that need Jesus. Matthew called them harassed and helpless. This is where you come in. When you pray for God to use you, He is going to send you in a specific direction. And when He does, you have to be get set to do that. You have to know this is where God is sending you, and these are the people He is sending you to. Ask Him to help you get set to do His work!
Go - This may seem self-explanatory, but some people train and know what they should do...and still wait to be told to do it. As you pray this week, think about what Jesus is asking of you here. He has gotten you ready by making you into a new creation and He is pointing you in the direction of those who need Him. And now, the gun sounds and the crowd cheers and the race begins...it's Go time! Are you ready?