As I was reading this morning through the Gospel of Luke I came across chapter 10 and the scriptures just started to jump out at me. Not in a literal way, but you know those times when you are reading and something just speaks to you and you have to stop and reflect on it a while.
And as I am reflecting on it now, Im not sure if it is the scripture entirely of a mixture of events and conversations over the past few weeks. Regardless, I found it very important and now Im writing about it for your pleasure, pain or for you to criticize.
In Luke 10 the chapter starts out with Jesus sending out the 72 (verses 1-12). These verses are incredibly important for those who are preparing for a life of missions because in these passages Jesus is giving instructions for those trusted 72 who will be going into the world for the mission of sharing the Gospel.
The first instruction is to pray for more laborers of the harvest (verse 2). As Christians we are called to pray for those who are in ministry as well as those who are to be called into ministry. Is there anyone around you that you should be praying for in this way?
The second instruction is to Go your way (verse 3). Now I am not sure how much time occurred between the first and second instruction or if those who were praying for laborers of the harvest are now the laborers of the harvest they were praying for. But I believe that we are far more likely to pray for others than ourselves. For example, I would be much more likely to pray for someone I know to go to Africa on mission than myself. But in this situation as in mine it is the prayer that brings us to the point of action. Through prayer our heart changes from our point of view to God’s point of view which moves us to correction. [I believe that Isaiah had this occur in his vision (Isaiah 6). He saw the lostness of his people and he was sent through a heart change.] As I have chased this rabbit, I wonder if that is part of the reason we have less missionaries than in the past? Maybe we are not praying for laborers of the harvest as much as we should?
The second part of the instruction contains both a warning and comfort. Jesus states “I am sending you out as lambs in midst of wolves.” In this I see that the first thing is, we are to take comfort in being sent out by Jesus. He knows where we will be, what we will be doing and who we may run into. Even if we are being persecuted Jesus knows and is there. The second is that we are to have no illusions as to the suffering and persecution we will face when we are sharing Christ. As lambs in the midst of wolves, I think we can all connect the implications of how the world will view us when we are living our lives as we are called.
The third instruction is to carry nothing with them but what is on their backs. I find this to be an issue of reliance. Jesus wanted those He was sending out to rely only on Him. This is a struggle that everyone faces in their Christian walk. I see this in the lack of time spent with God in some of the people I have talked with. They will tell you everything that has happened in the last week on the popular sitcoms but when you ask them to spend more than 10 minutes in the morning reading their Bibles you would have thought I shot their dog. If we were truly relying on God and not on other things would this be the attitude that is by far the majority of Christians?
[I am not trying to be judgmental here. I am as guilty as anyone else. I am often convicted of how much time I could be spending in the word verses how much time I do.]
Makes me wonder if we poled Americans on how much TV they watch per week in comparison to how much they read their Bible what the numbers would look like. Scary….
The forth instruction is found in the following verses. We are to look for a “house of peace” or often referred to as a “man of peace”. Someone who will let you into their house and is open to the message of God. This may be a friend that you have that you can share the Gospel with or it may be a stranger that you just met. Regardless we are to make inroads for sharing God’s message with those around us.
When (NOT If) we find a person of peace we are to minister to them and to share the Gospel with them.
If we do not find a house of peace or person of peace, we are to move on.
I find this very hard for me. I want to help all those I know and care for and I truly believe they want to be helped. Sometimes you can see that in their reasoning for not accepting Christ. [I have heard some say something like “If you truly believed what you are saying, you would do everything it takes to convert me.” I believe this a plea not for others that need help but for themselves because they know they are in trouble.] However, there is an old saying “you can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink” which applies here. We can share the Gospel until we are blue in the face but not all will hear and not everyone will see.
This is not because of something that we have done or God has predestined but rebellion in the person. The scriptures say that Jesus died for all our sins, not just some of our sins. (John 3:16-21)
Well I was planning on covering all of the chapter. I have more to tell but I am out of time for now and this is pretty long. [sorry] Until another day.