Scripture: “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
Need a good word? Try
this one - “gregarious”- which comes from a Latin word meaning a flock
1 a: tending to associate with others of one's kind
b: marked by or indicating a liking for companionship
c: of or relating to a social group
2 a: of a plant growing in a cluster or a colony .
. .Merriam-Webster .
The King James translation renders it multitudes
- many, many people. A literal translation of the Greek text
reads, “wearied and cast away,” as sheep not having a shepherd.
Now think back a few years. Typical classroom.
Scenario: teacher leaves the room for some reason. Now you have a group
of people, who are together, tending to associate with others of one’s kind.
(See above definition) Now there is a leadership vacuum in the classroom.
Invariably, someone takes control. What will it be?
Order (that the teacher hopes will happen) or disorder (which the teacher
probably expects). If the class in general tends to order, everyone
will go about their work. If there is one who
crosses the line to disorder, it is a rare flock that will not follow.
Back to sheep. How many times (How many, Lord?)
have I got all but one sheep through the gate, promptly and peaceably,
and one (1) sheep “goes astray” with the result that the rest all
turn, observe the renegade, and follow pell-mell!
What is there about a group/ flock that so looks for
guidance, even guidance that leads them all astray? Crowd (mob) psychology,
it is called. It takes a strong, strong person to move apart from such a crowd,
to buck the rush to be a part of the multitudes, to be different, to stand
out, to be a leader.
Leadership is a dangerous position, because the multitudes
gain their power from the numbers of - or relating to - a social group.
“Everyone is doing it.” Jumping off a cliff? No matter, everyone is doing
it.” Gotta do it; gotta have it.
But the leader says, “Not me!” Jesus
looked at the gregarious multitudes, not just going each their own way,
but as a crowd following their most basic (lowest) urges. If it feels good,
do it! and they did (are.)
What kind of workers are needed for the harvest (Mt.
9:38-39)? Leaders! People who are prepared to say, “Hey! Multitudes,
this is the way.”
Jesus was observed by the multitudes to teach with authority. But (Mt.
9:36) he had compassion on them. Love those multitudes!
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