Sheep are the most mentioned animal in the Bible, some 400 times (including lambs). Agriculturally they are best known as a very needy animal for their dependency on humans in protecting and caring for them. Not surprisingly the most famous Psalm (the 23rd) and numerous teachings of Jesus allude to sheep.
As a human race we face many great needs. Some are very real, while others may be a misuse of the word “need”. In the affluent lifestyle we have become accustomed to here in the West we often hear the word “need” to describe that which might be laughable or unimaginable by those who live in many other parts of the world. For instance we may hear someone say, “I really need a new TV” even though this is hardly something we can’t live without. (In many cases we may merely want to replace a TV that works perfectly fine with a newer, usually larger model.)
Today there are many needs being heavily promoted as “The greatest need facing the human race.” Included in the top ten “greatest needs” are such causes as healthcare, the environment, the role of government, etc.
In the Scriptures there are certain needs common to all humanity such as food and clothing. (1 Timothy 6:8). We also genuinely need love, security, peace, freedom, relationships with others and so forth. Our supreme need is to be in right standing in our relationship with God. We are great sinners, God is a great Savior!
In our first daily text, Jesus models to all who look on that He was motivated by compassion; “When He saw the crowds He had compassion on them”. Our ultimate motivation in helping others should be compassion driven as well. (See 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.)
Jesus also expresses the very heart of what is the ultimate human need when He described the crowd; “They were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. People continue to be “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” which is a result of spiritual separation from God.
“Like most humans who ever lived, the mass of people in Jesus’ time were harassed, abused, exploited or ignored by their “shepherds,” their superiors. Jesus saw the common people not as “losers” to be ignored or snubbed, but as a rich spiritual harvest, and He chose to enlist others in the great work of harvesting. The kind of shepherd Jesus had in mind was not a leader so much as a caregiver.” – J. Stephen Lang
We are incessantly harassed by the enemy and are helpless apart from our spiritual need being foundationally met through a relationship with Christ who calls people to repent, believe, obey and follow Him.
Throughout the Book of Acts and the teaching of the Epistles we see the early Church seeking to fulfill this Ultimate Mission of making “disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19,20).
We recall a statement from our Bible School days that we still very much believe: “Christ started the church the way He wanted it and He wants the Church the way He started it.” Throughout history the enemy has so often tried to get the church off track but our mission must remain primarily meeting the ultimate human need which is spiritual in nature. Mankind remains “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Today let us ever keep this great need before us and ever proclaim, “our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep”!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we have freely received Your gift of forgiveness and salvation. Because of this we are motivated by compassion for the lost as we recognize their ultimate human need is to have a spiritual relationship with You. We want to be a part of the ultimate mission in reaching them with the gospel message so that they might have forgiveness of sins and inherit eternal life in heaven. Keep us ever mindful of our mission and obedient to Your leading. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
The government sponsored orphanage lacked sufficient volunteers and workers for the children, so for the most part, they seemed to be on their own in the midst of a great storm. Brooksyne and I tried to gather them out of the rain but there were only two of us and we didn’t speak Spanish though the children surely understood our good intentions. They were truly like sheep without a shepherd, harassed by the tropical storm and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd, at a time when children would normally have mothers and fathers gather them close and get them to shelter for safety and reassurance.