“He called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.’ And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere…”
“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go… ‘Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace be to this house!”..But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.”’” Luke 9:1-6; 10:1,3-5,10-11
Jesus’s instructions were explicit to those He sent out, first the twelve, then the 72. He would follow, yet they were to go ahead of Him to proclaim His good news, and prepare for His appearance. They would merely be sowers and planters, He would bring fruit. (1 Corinthians 3:5-7)
It’s easy to start out with enthusiasm but grow weary in the work, especially if we don’t see results we’d anticipated or hoped for. Jesus gave a clear charge that called for both courage and discernment. Go, be bold, and always speak peace and truth. But also be intent to observe, and sense the time to move on. Not every effort will be received, not every person be open, but you are accountable to Me for faithfulness to my call.
We want to be well-received. We want to succeed and bring great harvest. And we really don’t want to be hunted or ridiculed or cancelled. But Jesus told His followers they were sent as sheep among wolves, to be humble and mild among the vicious and conniving. Speak and live the gospel. Model the gospel, and love as I have loved you. (John 13:14-17,34)
When we look at the trouble, and get flustered by the difficulties and resistance in ministry, we are tempted to give up. But when we let the call lead, and the glory of God before us, obedience becomes a rhythm of joy and contentment. We learn to please God, not self, and in doing so find deep satisfaction that self-service does not afford.
Where has God called? He knows our name and number, and has specific plans for us to serve Him and others in His name. Are there occupations I should release to make room for His work? What excuses need I confess? No matter the cost, no matter the results, we are accountable for how we respond to His call.
Father, attune me to Your voice each day. Here am I, send me, to honor Your purpose and worth in every assignment. (Isaiah 6:8)