July 2 & 3, 2016
In the Gospel reading, Jesus impresses on His faithful followers that there is nothing as important as the “harvest!”
Whether you are from a “farm background” or not, you might easily imagine that there is nothing (or at least there are “few” things) more important to the farmer than the harvest. Everything he does – plowing, planting and praying – all focus on preparing for, anticipating and safely bringing in the largest harvest possible!
Jesus’ whole earthly ministry was about “bringing in a harvest of souls!” His preaching and teaching focused on bringing the message of the Father’s love, forgiveness and salvation which He, Himself, would accomplish for us through His sacrificial death on the Cross as our divine substitute. To assist in the proclamation of this life-giving message, He had called and sent the twelve Apostles, and now He was calling and sending seventy-two others into the work of bringing this Good News to people in towns and villages everywhere.
He “sent them two-by-two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go. He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.’” (Luke 10: 1-4)
He didn’t want them to waste time with “excessive preparations” or to be “side tracked” by unnecessary distractions. He wanted them to go quickly and to rely completely on His protection and provision for them! As they came to each town, they were to find homes in which to stay and were to announce God’s peace and blessing on those who welcomed them. He gave them His authority to preach repentance, to drive out demons and to heal the sick. And they did so!
If they came to places where they were unwelcomed by people who were unwilling to hear the message of salvation, these disciples were to pronounce judgment (Law) and were to “wipe the dust of that town off their feet” before they went elsewhere with their proclamation of eternal life through the Messiah, Jesus, who was soon to come among them. You see, it was all about “The Most Precious Harvest” – the harvest of souls!
Jesus is sending us – you and me – out too! He doesn’t want us to delay; to get “bogged down” in preparation! He sends us out as individuals, as couples, as families and as a church into the fields which are ready for harvest. Where is He sending you? Where does He want you to carry the gospel? Who around you (at work, school, in your family or neighborhood) needs to know the love of God in Christ and the message of salvation? When was the last time you shared your faith in Christ with someone else; when did you last invite someone to come with you to church?
Through faith in life-giving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for you, God has filled you with peace and now He calls you to be His spokesperson of peace. As you follow His calling wherever it leads you, you can joyfully expect His power, protection and Peace and Blessing as you go. Listen to His Spirit leading you through His Word and empowering you through the sacraments.
Get ready. Get set. Yes, but above all…. “GO!” May He grant you health, strength, peace and joy in Jesus as you work and pray for “The Most Precious Harvest” – the harvest of souls!
See you in church this next weekend!
Blessings in Christ,