The Gospel according to Luke (10:1-9)
The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’”
Opening Prayer: Thank you for the gift of another day. Today, I know you want to give me something, to teach me something. Today you have something for me to do. I want to receive what you want to give me and give whatever you ask of me. Help quiet my mind and my heart so that I can truly hear your voice and live today on the wavelength of your love.
Encountering Christ: Suppose you place two large suitcases between yourself and the children. Ask the children what kinds of things they pack when they go on a trip and find out if their suitcases often become heavy and hard to carry. Then have them guess what Jesus tells his disciples to pack on their trip to towns along the road that Jesus is walking. Nothing! Let them know that Jesus says, “Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals”. See if the children can guess why Jesus encourages them to travel with only the clothes they’re wearing. Point to your luggage and observe that it’s preventing you from getting close to them. In the same way, Jesus knows that his disciples won’t be able to become close friends with people if they’re worried about their baggage. Share with the children Jesus’ instructions — “Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you” — and emphasize that Jesus wants his disciples to make friends with people and share meals with them all along the way. Encourage the children to travel lightly when they leave their homes so they can focus on people and make friends for Jesus.
Jesus wanted his followers’ involvement because it gave them a richer experience of following him. When Jesus’ viral network came back from their mission trips, we read that “[t]he seventy returned with joy.” Were they thrilled to get home? Tired of living out of suitcases? No, Jesus said not to take them. Their joy was a direct result of how God had used them. They experienced things they never could have from the sidelines of the kingdom. Their involvement led to more satisfaction, excitement, and a deeper Jesus-infection.
God has set us up because Christianity offers a fuller satisfaction only through fuller participation. We’ve all experienced that at some point. Greater strategy; Greater buy-in; Greater results; and a Greater experience. That all comes when a church gets committed to fully living the kingdom value of kingdom expansion. But when it gets down to life after the sermon, most people are completely terrified of the idea of evangelism. It feels weird or it feels fake. WHY?! There are so many ways to evangelize.
As for the 70, there is a cost to living in the kingdom. It can sometimes be uncomfortable. But help ease people into the idea of taking just one step further into Jesus’ concept of viral marketing. If the harvest is plentiful, our job is simply to be available to labor and to risk our personal comfort on behalf of people who don’t yet know God. That is all Jesus asked of the 70.
Closing Prayer: I want to live calmly in this truth, because it is the true way to fulfillment that you have revealed, and you would never deceive me. Teach me, Lord, to be ready, to be vigilant, to be prepared—in short, to live as your true follower, no matter what.
Action of the Day: Here are some progressive steps to assist you during your mission:
• Start by identifying your natural circles of relational influence: work, family, neighbors, etc.
• Pray for the deepening of connections with nonbelievers in those circles.
• As a relationship deepens, pray for that person’s life needs and for his or her salvation.
• Start looking for ways to tangibly serve and care for them.
• Ask God to build their spiritual curiosity and give you opportunities for spiritual conversations.
• Talk about your experiences in following God — the good and the bad.
• Let people know that if they ever want to discuss spiritual things, you would love to do so.