Summary: Playing it safe is no way to spread the gospel of Christ in a hurting world.
Luke 10: 1 – 11, 16 – 20 Appointed
Intro: Dear Abby once wrote in her column about a lifeguard who was being charged with the death of a teenager. The lifeguard was working at a large poll with two or three others each with a specific area to cover. He was approached by a group of teenagers excitedly telling him of someone who was lying at the bottom of the pool. His answer was, “Sorry, but that’s not my area. I’m not responsible for what happens down there.” The teen rescued by other swimmers died
I. “It’s not my job!” How many times have you heard someone say that or said it yourself? Because a young man believed it wasn’t his job, another youngster died.
A. Verse 1 – 2 “After this the Lord appointed 70/72 others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;”
B. 70 considered the # of Gentile nations in the world at that time. – Sending in pairs was common. It provided companionship, protection and the double witness called for in Deut 17:6.
C. Christ Jesus is counting on us to tell others about His saving grace in our lives. He wants us to share with others, to pass on the good news of the gospel to others. --- “Presbyterians just don’t do that well!”
II. There was an old farmer, ragged and barefooted, who sat on the steps of his tumble-down shack, chewing on a stem of grass. He was approached by a passing stranger searching for a drink of cool water. Attempting to be friendly, the stranger asked, “How is you cotton coming in this weather/” --- “Ain’t got none.” --- “Didn’t you plant any?” --- “Nope, afraid of weevils.” --- “Well, how is you corn?” --- “Ain’t got non. Afraid there wasn’t going to be no rain.” --- “What did you plant?” --- “Nothing, I jest played it safe!”
A. Many of us are like that farmer. We play it safe. He wasn’t willing to risk, he wasn’t willing to take a chance. He was afraid his work would be for nothing or he would fail. So, he planted no crop and consequently, he had no harvest.
B. When it comes to telling others about Christ, we aren’t willing to risk, we aren’t willing to plant a crop. We’re afraid of what others might think, afraid of our own lack or faith or knowledge. We don’t see the task of witnessing as our responsibility, surely it has to be someone else’s job, not mine.
C. The theologian, D. T. Niles, wrote, “Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find food.” --- We are all sinners and need the help of Jesus; but, at the same time, Jesus is counting on us to tell others about Him and how He has changed our lives.
III. After we have experienced the love of Christ in our lives, Jesus wants us to spread the good news. He wants us to tell others so they may be able to experience that same good news in their lives. But, we are uncomfortable and hesitant because we don’t know where to start.
A. A pastor gathered a group of people from his church to train them to witness. After some minimal training, the group had gone out to put into practice what they had learned. The next week they returned to share their experiences. One young man said he had tried to tell an older gentleman about the love Jesus had for him. The old gentleman replied, “I feel none of the love of God. I feel nothing of God caring for my burdens. I am old and must take care of myself, shop for myself, and carry my groceries home from the store, by myself.” --- One of the other participants remarked, “Perhaps if you had offered to carry his load for him, he would have believed your words because he would have experienced them firsthand in you.”
B. Christ Jesus wants us to reach out to those who are staggering with their burdens of live and show them His grace. Often that will mean that we are willing to help them carry their burden, to walk beside them in their journey of life. Are their lonely people who could use a visit? Are there sick and dying who could use a prayer and a kind word? Are there those in grief trying to go on but struggling and not able to get beyond their loss?
C. If your answer is yes, they you could be the answer in their lives; but, it takes someone who is willing to risk. Risk being rejected, risk not having all the answers, risk getting involved.