This morning we were driving through Toledo during the morning rush hour. Suddenly the traffic on the interstate came to a complete stop. We expected construction or an accident but the problem was that somehow a dog had wandered across five lanes of traffic and a busy merging lane. He was trapped against a dividing wall and unable to cross back. He shifted his weight from foot to foot afraid of the traffic. Some drivers would try to let him cross, but others merging from another highway would not see him in time to stop and he couldn’t get across. There was nothing we could do for him without risking our own lives so we had to go on. He was trapped. I could not imagine a way for the poor dog to get to safety.
I often think about my parish – our family mission field – the Downriver Communities where we live. We have devoted our lives to proclaiming Christ to the people who live there. There are thousands and thousands of families that live and work within driving distance of our church. Most of them are spiritually trapped and they don’t have a chance to make it to safety without a miracle. Our church and our ministry are attempts to help them across the busy freeway to safety and life.
You can’t always tell people’s spiritual needs by looking at them. But there are times when you can see the desperation in their faces. They are trying to live and laugh and love, but it is a daily struggle. They will never make it to spiritual safety unless Jesus guides them there.
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38)
On vacation in Campton, Kentucky
July 1, 2008