Date Posted: June 11th, 2012
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Luke 10:2
Ministry opportunities are vast, but it’s hard to find people who are willing to do the work. So here’s what Jesus says we’re to do: “Ask the Lord of the harvest… to send out workers into his harvest field” (10:2).
To “send out” means to thrust out or to drive out. This is what we need to pray for. We need to ask God to place an inner compulsion in many hearts. What will it take for those who are thrust out to fulfill the work that God gives to them? What is the profile of the person that God uses?
3. They Travel Light
“Do not take a purse or bag or sandals.” Luke 10:4
The seventy two were sent out without purse, bag or sandals. They didn’t go barefoot, but they didn’t carry anything extra, and they depended on others for food and lodging. Those of us who depend on the support of others, shouldn’t expect too much. We’re freed from the need to earn a wage, in order to give ourselves full time to bringing in the harvest.
But when the situation changes, we need to adapt: “Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘But now, if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag’” (Luke 22:35-6). As Jesus goes to the cross, the disciples will not be able to garner the same kind of support; they’ll have to support themselves.
The surest way to stifle a ministry is to make a long list of what you need before you can get started. The principle is very simple: Do ministry with the resources that are available. Where others will support you, receive it gratefully; where that’s not possible, make sacrifices yourself.
4. They Stick Around
“Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.” Luke 10:5-7
It’s not hard to picture what Jesus is referring to: A missionary arrives in town, is welcomed into a home, and makes that the base of his ministry. But after a few days, he notices that there’s a larger place on the other side of town, and the folks there have shown interest in his ministry.
Jesus warns against the restless spirit that’s always looking for a better place to do ministry. So many people just keep moving on; they’re never settled and so easily upset. Let’s receive this principle for ministry: If you want to make a significant impact for the kingdom of God, stick around one place, doing one thing, long enough to make a difference.
5. They Have a Sense of Urgency
“Do not greet anyone on the road.” Luke 10:4
This is not a formula for rudeness. Jesus is telling them to get on with the job and not waste time. The task is to go to every town. There is a limited amount of time for us to engage in this work: “The kingdom of God is near” (Luke 10:9). People are here for a limited time. We’re here for a limited time. And Christ will come back after a limited time.
In light of this, we’re to take the good news to people who need to hear it: “If you go to a place where you are not welcomed, move on, there are other places that also need to hear this good news” (Luke 10:10).
Are these things true of you?
I have found this very searching as I’ve tried to examine myself in the light of this profile. Are these things true of you? If you are to fulfill your calling, then you need these things to be true of you too…
3. Will you travel light? Or will you limit yourself by making an impossible list of “needs” before you step out in faith?
4. Are you ready to commit to the long haul of ministry? Or will you become unsettled by the things that don’t produce fruit within a few weeks or months?
5. Do you have a sense of urgency in reaching the lost? Or are you happy to maintain the status quo?
This LifeKey is based on the message “Ministry,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, from the series, “The Conveniently Neglected Teachings of Jesus” preached on May 16, 2004.