The Call for Workers
The text this week is Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20, which tells a story of how to go about the ministry of building the church. First, is the clear statement that there is great need for workers. “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few”, Jesus tells those gathered. Then, as now, there is always a need for people to proclaim the good news. As a preacher pointed out in a sermon the words of St. Teresa of Avila’s prayer:
Christ has no body on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ looks out to the world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless others now.
We are the eyes and ears, and hands and feet of our Lord, and the harvest awaits.
Jesus is not naïve about this call and what awaits his followers. Verse 3 is clear “See, I am sending you out like lambs in the midst of wolves”. Jesus well knows the world as it is and the dangers his disciples will face. Also, as we saw last week, Jesus knows that this is not an easy task. In Verse 4 Jesus says, “Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals”. Basically, go only with your faith.
Once out in the field, Jesus instructs the disciples to offer their peace to all they encounter. This is to be done without question or reservation or condition. There is to be no asking questions or “qualifying” the prospective believer. No making sure the believe the “right” way. We are to offer our peace unconditionally; the way Jesus has.
That peace may be returned to us, but that is alright. Additionally, the disciples are to take what sustenance is offered, but not to complain if none is put forth. Finally, Jesus’s disciples are to proclaim the kingdom of God, that has come near. They, and we are to do this whether we are rejected or not. This is made clear in verse 9 and verse 11. The kingdom is offered to all regardless, also unconditionally.
A Peaceful Response
As in last week’s text the response to rejection is made crystal clear. This response is to be a most peaceful one. If the disciples are rejected, they are to wipe the dust of this town off their feet in protest and then to move on. No, calling down the thunder or engaging in any other violent actions or threats. This is a continuing lesson for all of us who labor on behalf of the Prince of Peace.
The reward for this labor is also made clear in the conclusion of the text, verses 17-20. The disciples returned joyful that they had overcome Satan and other assorted demons. Yet, Jesus reminds them that they need not rejoice at this. Rather they should rejoice that their “names are written in heaven”. Which is to say that their, and our, reward is being a part of God’s kingdom. We are living in God’s kingdom due to our faith and we respond by being the workers that are so desperately needed. You know, believing, then obeying.
Praise Be to God