Reading Luke 10 with new perspective this morning. Christ was a gracious leader. His grace extends to every area of leadership.
"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. And he said to them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.' " - Luke 10:1-3 ESV
Go your way. These are the places I want to visit but go your way and pray that the others are led by God the Father. He could have broken the cities and towns into seventy-two parts and assigned a section to each one. No. He says go your way and pray. One group might knock on dozens of doors and the other might meet one or two families and spend the whole time investing.
Pray that the Lord of the Harvest 'would send laborers.' Didn't you just send seventy-two people? Would there be more people? We think of this verse and quote it to the Church. It is a good verse to quote but if we look at it in context Jesus is talking to those seventy-two people about those seventy-two people. He could have commanded them to do what He wanted to do... but grace works differently... grace activates us in spirit leading. These men were not indwelled by the Spirit. That would not happen until Pentecost. The Spirit rested on them to lead them but which among them would be a grace laborer? Pray... Jesus said pray. Willingness isn't enough. It must be by prayer. Just like today. It must be by prayer.
"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!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. "Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' " - Luke 10:4-8 ESV
Whatever house you find yourself in... whatever town you find yourself in... go... that is the part that must be done... go... but not just to take territory. Bring peace to the households that receive. Linger at those households. Make those places a base of operations.
"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.' I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. 'Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.' " - Luke 10:10-15 ESV
Peace to the households but some places will have an air to them that everyone buys into. A spirit that links people into cliques of rejection. Whole places where grace is rejected. Move on. Keep going. There are households somewhere else. Things might change later but for now Christ tells these people to not even let the dust of the place cling to their feet.
" 'The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.'
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!'
And he said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.' " - Luke 10:16-20 ESV
Rejoice in the grace of salvation. Names written down in Heaven that are written there in a merit less economy. Rejoice in that. When that grace kingdom sends a person there is power. Grace has power that no assembly line of organization could ever hope to have.
Jesus gave them guidelines but they were not guidelines that maximized efficiency... they maximized investment. He gave them freedom framed in redemptive purpose.
God the Father used the person of Jesus Christ as a man to send them. He still uses men today. He uses people filled with the Spirit to send other people in guidelines of grace. The power these seventy-two had is still to be had today.
Today I pray for laborers... God, send them... the fields are white... I have no money... no spiritual currency to barter with... if it were left to me none of this would get done... it is beyond me. But you God are the Lord of the Harvest. Today is all I have. Today. Please lead me and guide me. I know the seed of grace is good seed. I know the Gospel is what is needed. Help God. I am believing you for today. Move me today. Lead me to the hungry person. Lead me to the household that wants you. Give me wisdom so a won't be ground down in a place where a should just wipe the dust off... give me wisdom to stick it out in the place were there are hungry people.
Thank you God.