Ever felt harassed? The Greek word for harassed means literally to forget who you are. You are under so much pressure you don’t even remember who you are, you forget the basics. Ever acted in a way that you look at yourself and think “I don’t even recognize myself”, “I know better than this”, “This isn’t me! Or is it…”
Ever felt helpless? The Greek word for helpless means you are moved by something other than yourself. Ever felt like a sickness, a situation, the Covid is too much for you? Ever felt that the woman I saw in the park the other day with a Doberman – I wasn’t sure who was taking who for a walk. Ever felt like life is taking you for a walk rather than the other way around. Ever felt helpless before the storm.
I can tell you why you feel that way, and I can give you the solution. It’s actually really simple.
Let’s read the Word.
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. (Matthew 9.35 NIV)
Look at what is going on here. These people were being taught by Jesus! Jesus was their teacher! Some of the greatest Bible teachers in the world are friends of mine. I love teaching, and I love hearing good Bible teaching, but I bet no-one I have ever listened to could hold a candle to Jesus. I reckon Jesus was the best Bible teacher in all of history. I reckon these people were the best taught people ever. I reckon you could watch TBN and God TV for weeks and weeks and not be taught as well as these people who were taught personally by Jesus! These people were well taught. They had a great teacher.
In addition, Jesus proclaimed good news to them. That’s the ministry of an evangelist. I love great evangelists, I know several people who are precious evangelists winning tens of thousands of people to the Lord around the world. I love people who proclaim the good news. I love good evangelists. But again, I don’t reckon any of us have ever heard someone proclaim the good news as well as Jesus did to these people. These people were the best raught people in the universe and the best evangelised.
In addition, these people saw Jesus heal the sick. They saw Him heal every sickness and disease. That’s a whole lot of miracles.
You would think that these people, having had the best teaching in the world, the best preaching of the gospel in the world, having seen miracle after miracle after miracle, would be the most godly, most successful, most victorious people in the world, but they weren’t. Read on:
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9.36 NIV)
The crowds, even after the best teaching in the world, the best evangelism in the world, after seeing so many miracles, were still harassed and helpless. Why? They were missing a shepherd. The Greek word for shepherd is poimen, the word for pastor.
I meet so many people like this as I travel as a speaker, or through our TV lines, or who just contact me because the harassment is too much and the feeling of helplessness overwhelms them. And they are doubly confused because they hear great teaching, they watch Christian TV every day, they have been to great Bible Colleges, they have gone to great conferences, they have gone to big crusades, they have seen healings and miracles, so they think they should be successful and full of peace.
But the solution is not more teaching, they will not stop the harassment by more conferences, there is not a Bible College module that will end their feeling of helplessness. Christians are helpless and harassed not because of a lack of teaching, a lack of miracles, a lack of conferences. They are helpless and harassed because they do not have a pastor, they do not go to church, they are not part of a church. They are not being led to green grass and still waters. They are not being prepared a feast in the midst of their enemies, they are not in a place without lack because they do not go to church. It’s that simple.
If someone contacts me and starts sharing about being helpless and harassed, it won’t be long until I ask them “what is your pastor’s name and why are you not going to them” and always the answer is they do not have a pastor, they don’t really go to church. That is the problem. That is why they are helpless. That is why they are harassed. They need a pastor.
There are two kinds of people need to make a response to this post. If you are a Christian and are not being pastored, you are not part of a local church and being discipled in that church, then you need to make a change. And don’t say the words “virtual church” to me. Virtual church means virtual growth, virtual maturity, virtual fellowship and virtually no benefits. It is better than nothing, lockdown has forced us to adapt, but under normal circumstances you absolutely need to be out of bed, off the sofa, out of the house and assembling with the people of God.
Or stay harassed and helpless forever. Keep sliding away from your identity, keep doing and saying things you never thought you would do, and keep floating downstream with the dead fish rather than being in charge of your life and walking in victory. It’s your choice. But choose church, choose life!
And if you are in church and you love Christians and want to help them, then pray. Jesus told His disciples: 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.” (Matthew 9.37-38 NIV)
Pray for God to raise up workers. Not just teachers and evangelists, who are both great ministries doing great jobs, but pray for more pastors. More pastors mean more churches mean more workers mean a greater harvest!