4TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
SUNDAY JULY 7TH 2019
TEXTS: LUKE 10: 1 – 11; 16 – 20
THEME: A LARGE HARVEST BUT, FEW WORKERS
We just celebrated the July 4th with memories of experiencing freedom. July 4th continue to remind us how important as human need to be free from any kind of oppression. Though we are an independent country there are many sectors of human life that have not enjoyed the full freedom of equality. We still struggle as a nation with gender issues, race, class and other kind of isms. There are economical oppression, political, psychological, age, and even gender. There could be oppression in institutions like marriage, work place and in many other areas. As we celebrate out independence here in American let us not forget many countries that are being ruled by dictators where human rights are not respected.
There is one freedom that we should not forget today. It that freedom that comes by Jesus shedding his blood on the cross to set us free from the bondage of sin and death. We thank God in our country that we have freedom to gather, freedom of speech, freedom of worship and many more.
Jesus never worked alone. Just near the end of his work here on earth he wished to engage his following in doing more evangelism. He had the inner group of the 12 disciples and he had others who were working with. At this point in our text today we read that Jesus decided to send this evangelist ahead of him to the towns and villages he was planning to go. He sent 72 of them in pairs. We don’t know if they were couples, men alone of mix but what we can conclude from his arrangement that they went in two’s so that they were able to support each other at the time of need. Jesus reminds them of couple of things as they start their mission:
- The harvest is plentiful: There people waiting to hear the good news of Jesus everywhere they would go.
- They will be like lambs among the wolves: The work was not going to be easy. They will risk their lives doing God’s work. This calls for diligent in all what they did.
- Don’t take any purse: They had to fully trust that they will be provided. Every Jew usually carried a purse which contained some snack and a few personal items. This meant they were vulnerable.
- Declare peace in the home that you enter: taking peace to people’s home was important. They host needed to be assured that the visitors did not have any bad intentions but rather coming representing the prince of peace.
- Don’t greet anyone until you get there: This means there was urgency when it comes to doing God work. They should not waste time on the way. Not time to chase rabbits go for the actual mission.
- Stay in one home that has welcomed you: This will help in two main ways. One, they will not need to be having new environment and they can keep their things together. Two, the homes they leave owners might feel as if they have been rejected. It also helped in that people will not be competing to host them.
- Heal the people: Part of their mission is to heal people. Maybe the healing was more than physical healing.
- You represent Christ: They should always remember that they were doing God’s work. They were Christ ambassadors wherever they went.
It seems like when they went for this mission they were met with a lot of success. “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name” (Luke 10:17). Jesus had to warn them not to be so proud of their success but rather be happy that their names were written in the book of life. The devil is the master of pride and Jesus saw it come down like light. Here is some faith lesson I wish for us to take with us:
- No unemployment in God’s Kingdom: It is amazing that in the world where there is often the talk of unemployment in the Lord’s Vineyard there is still work if one are willing to work. Whatever time you show up as long as you are willing to work the pay is the same “eternal life.” Jesus illustrates this point when he told the parable of the vineyard (Matthew 20: 1 – 16). In this story the owner gets the first workers at 7:00am and agree to pay them a denarius which was a regular pay for the day. The owner went back at the market place at 6th hour (noon) and hired some with the same pay agreement. And then at the 9th hour (3:00 pm) the owner went back at the market place and had the same agreement on the payment. To this owner he kept his promise on how much he was to pay as long as one was willing to go and work for him. In the same way Jesus is looking for workers everyday in all places. The question is are you willing to work for your God? remember in God’s kingdom there is enough work for each and everyone. We have to look around and ask Jesus where do you need me to be at this time in my life? God can change assignments at his will. God might be calling you to help with worship, youth, Sunday school, VBS, small group, God helping hands, folding newsletters or bulletins and the list continue. If you don’t work for your, God just know it’s not because there is no work for you but your engagement with other things.
- Invited to Pray for workers: Prayer is number one responsibility for every believer. Jesus invites us to be people of prayer for through prayers God is able to do mighty things. Since all of us are invited to be workers in God’s vineyard we have to pray for one another everyday. When Jesus sent the 72 out in the villages and towns ahead of him, he reminded them that their strength comes in doing God’s will and praying for one another. God work is different from other works that we do. This is because there is a spiritual dimension to the work. People have to grow spiritually so that they can withstand the arrows from the evil one. God is the one who decides when and how to answer each prayer that we bring before him. But for us we have to know how we can pray to God. In our July Newsletter for those who read will remember my emphasis on the 4 P’s. When it comes to how we pray: One, we pray Passionately, two, we pray Positively; three, we pray Persistently and four, we pray Precisely. We are invited to be people of prayer at all times.
- Prepared to face opposition: Our greatest joy is to know that our names are written in the book of life. Jesus was very careful in reminding them that they should not be carried away by their success. Pride can quickly set in when we see success on our side. He reminds them that the Devil is out there to make sure that they fail. To bring confusion as well as misdirect God’s people. The ways that Satan work is by sometimes pretending to be what is not. The bible tells us that Satan is life a wolf in sheep’s skin. That means it hard to know it until you look at its behaviors. The most important thing that Jesus reminds his disciples is that they have been given power and authority to overcome the devil. “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19)