Summary: God has chosen unlikely people to do impossible tasks and has called ordinary people to be his presence in the world.
Matthew 9:35 – 10:8 (9-23)
A father, tired after Church one Sunday morning, pretended to be asleep in his chair in front of the T.V. as his kids tried their best to wake him from his Sunday nap to join them in the back yard. Finally, after several attempts to wake him his five-year-old daughter climbed up onto his lap and pried open one of his eyelids and looked deeply into his eye and then said to her brother, “Oh, good! He’s still in there.”
I thought of this illustration this week after I had read the gospel text for today because like the father who had pretended to be asleep after hearing God’s Word in Church the disciples too could have chosen to fall asleep and ignore the commission Jesus had given to them to continue the work He had begun to spread the “Good News” to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
A few moments ago we heard that Jesus instructed His disciples to go out and cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and drive out demons.
Now you can imagine the awesome responsibility that Jesus gave to these twelve disciples? After the disciples had watched Jesus perform these very same tasks and preached the “Good News” to the people Jesus asked them to go and do likewise because God’s people were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.
And Jesus explained to the disciples that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
Well’s let’s suppose for a moment that today people were asking the Lord to send out laborers and Jesus gave YOU the responsibility to go and cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and drive out demons.
Would you accept the call? Or would you refuse because you knew that you could not fulfill these responsibilities?
Well let me ask you this: “How could these twelve men, fishermen, tradesmen, common folk, a tax collector, and even the one who would eventually betray Jesus, be capable of accepting the commission that Jesus gave to them?”
And the answer of course is that none of them were capable on their own to fulfill the commission that Jesus gave to them, but because Jesus had called them and the Holy Spirit had empowered them they were able to be a part of Christ’s Holy ministry.
And that is how it has been throughout the history of the Church. God has chosen unlikely people to do impossible tasks and has called ordinary people to be His presence and they were able to do it because they responded to Christ’s call and to His teachings.
A few weeks ago in an Adult Bible study the question was asked how we can be partners in God’s overall saving plan. And the answer that may have surprised some people is that God only asks us to do our small share of the task.
For example; in our discussion we used the analogy of a garden and we agreed that our part is simply to plant the seeds, and water, and weed, and till and then step back and watch God provide the sunshine, and the rain, and the nutrients that are needed for the plant to grow.
And that is how it is with the commission Jesus gives to those who follow him. Jesus simply asks us to be faithful and to proclaim the gospel through our words and deeds and assures us that He will provide the nutrients for His people to grow.
And yet we all know that this is easier said than done. Our selfish desires and lack of love for our neighbor gets in the way of our witness for the Lord.
But thankfully God, in His great mercy, continues to use us and gives us the power to become children of God and bestows upon us the gift of His Holy Spirit to lead us and renew us and help us walk in the way of the Lord.
Unfortunately the work we have to do is not simple or painless. And sadly not everyone that sees the presence of Christ in us wants to see or hear the “Good News.”
There are people, even here in Seguin that do not want to be a part of the Kingdom of God. And not everyone we meet is going to like us or welcome us into his or her circle of friends.
And Jesus is honest about this in our gospel reading today. Listen to these words: “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death: and you will be hated by all because of my name.”