“After this, the Lord appointed 72 others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field. Go! I am sending you out.” Luke 10:1-3 (NIV)
Whenever we talk about the mission of the church, Matthew 28 is often the first Scripture passage that comes to mind. Here, in clear and unambiguous language, the Saviour of mankind gave a final command to His disciples that they should multiply disciples everywhere.
Jesus was not on Twitter and did not have a habit of collecting followers. Rather, the Bible records that as soon as people responded to Him as the Saviour, He commissioned and sent them out. The Luke 10 passage describes how 72 men and women took to the road with the most basic of preparation, other than ready hearts. It is highly unlikely that they were Scripture experts, trained evangelists or professional holy men. More likely these were ordinary people who had been personally impacted by meeting Jesus.
Having experienced His goodness and mercy, they were moved to obey when He said “I want you to tell people about me”.
As I read this passage, I was moved to re-examine my attitude. Certainly, I dare not compare myself to any of the twelve apostles in their strength and devotion. I am not as passionate as Peter, as secure as John, or as prepared for martyrdom as James. On the other hand, there were the thousands who gathered to hear Jesus speak, who happily partook of the refreshments, but neither gave their hearts to Him nor acted on His urgent commission.
Friends, even if we cannot be like the twelve, let us not be like those merely in attendance at the “Jesus rally”. Rather, let us be like the 72. You and I have already been commissioned. We do not have to fundraise or wait for the church elders to lay hands on us before we can go on mission trips. Our hearts must come first and lead the way. Our primary mission field is where God has sovereignly placed each of us, in this season of life — whether in the midst of our classmates, army mates, fellow hobbyists, friends, work associates or wider family members.
Let our work in the Lord’s field start right here, right now. As we go out in ones and twos each day, let us be intentional about blessing people in word, deed and sign. And whenever we come together, we can share testimonies: not to tell people about how hard we worked, but to rejoice together about what God is doing. We can encourage one another often with the words, “if you want to, you can do it”! In this way, we who have received God’s grace will knit our hearts to become together, a truly missional church.
By Aaron Lee, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 19&20 September 2015)