Read Luke Chapter 10
It is striking to me that Jesus sends out the 70 to go to places that He Himself would then go to also. It doesn’t seem that efficient, these guys could have been like ‘force multipliers’, reaching more than He could have otherwise. In one sense we must allow the Lord to lead like a shepherd going before us, in another, as we faithfully sow the seed of the Gospel, He follows us working by His Spirit in the hearts of those to whom we have witnessed. In the end, in both, and in either way, it’s Jesus who does the real work.
If ever we need a manual for life in missions, Chapter 10 provides for that, but this kind of life is not for the faint hearted, but even so, we must go:
Luke 10:2 “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”
When we are rejected, as discouraging as it feels, it is not us who is rejected but Jesus. Mission success is not our concern, our only concern is going and sowing.
Luke 10:16 “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”
Pride can be an issue for those in successful ministries. Ones focus should be upon the fact that we are children of God, not upon all the amazing things God is doing through us. Although praising God for His kindness to the lives He has changed is never a bad thing.
On the issue of pride, the expert in the Jewish Law, clarifying who should be his neighbour, was probably feeling challenged/insulted by Jesus’ words alluding to the revealing of mysteries (10:21-29), not to the wise and the learned but to infants (metaphorically: the untaught or unskilled). The Lawyer knows the technical answer from the law (Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus. 19:18), but is unsure how to determine who his neighbour might be. Bearing in mind that Jews do not associate with Samaritans, Jesus hits His point home by telling the story of the Good Samaritan (10:30-37). He leaves the Lawyer in no doubt:
Luke 10:36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
The account of Mary and Martha at the end of the chapter is interesting (10:38-42). Jesus demonstrates His instructions to accept hospitality where it is offered. But also, we see another aspect of labouring for the Lord: Martha is stressed out, demanding help, but Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet. Perhaps among other things Jesus is here signalling to us that our relationship with Him is far more important than our labours for Him. In all of these things, it is vital to prioritise your relationship with the Lord, as everything else will flow from that.