Summary: A call to discipleship, service, and evangelism in the Kingdom of God.
Luke 10: 1-22
Eads and Haswell UMC
July 8, 2001
“The Workers Are Few”
There is true and old story told about a man by the name of Ali Facid.
He had a small farm and a family.
One day, the story goes, a Buddhist priest came by and said to Ali:
You know, there are valuable stones called diamonds,
and if you find one of these you could be a wealthy man."
Ali Facid went to bed that night,
but the words of the old priest haunted him.
He was so obsessed that he felt that he must find one of these diamonds
so that he could become rich.
He sold his farm, put his family out to neighbors and went out to find his acres of diamonds.
Months passed. He was broken in body and spirit.
His funds were gone.
And at the Bay of Barcelona, he threw himself into the sea,
never to walk this earth again.
Meanwhile, the man who bought his farm bent over one day and picked up a little stone.
He laid it on the mantle that night not knowing what it was.
A few days later the old Buddhist priest came by and saw it and exclaimed:
Ali Facid must be back from his search.
No, came the response.
Then where did that diamond come from?
The farmer replied: I was out plowing in the garden and found it there.
And from that very garden,
came the jewels and diamonds that today adorn the crown heads of Europe and Russia.
In Ali Facid’s own back yard there were acres of diamonds and he knew it not.
He threw his life away in search of that which was
under his nose the whole time.
How often do we miss the very treasure that
God has put right before us because we are unwilling to open our eyes and see
His mighty blessing?
This morning’s Gospel lesson is a story about a hidden treasure.
A treasure that is not only under our noses,
But all around us.
Sadly, many people go through their entire lives,
And die, sad, broken, and beaten, because, much like this character Ali,
they were not willing to see the treasure all around them.
Today’s Gospel lesson is a story about hidden treasure.
It is a story about a treasure more valuable than money, gold, or diamonds
That is all around us all the time.
And, sadly, it is a treasure that many people never open their eyes to see.’
Am I talking about people just outside the church?
No, I am talking about us…
Right here, right now, in this beautiful house of God.
What is this treasure I am talking about?
Jesus said it plainly to his disciples…
The Kingdom of God is near!
The Kingdom of God is near!
Now, you may be wondering just exactly what I am talking about at this point.
The very next 3 verses are nothing but condemnation.
Here, Jesus is talking about those who will not receive the Good News…
We get the sense that the Kingdom of God he is talking about
Is the end of the age…
The end of the world, or so it may seem.
They, like us, were thinking of the Kingdom as a far away place.
Where God’s reign is established.
And, this in fact is part of what Jesus was talking about.
But the part they missed,
Is that the beginning of that Kingdom was breathing, standing, walking, and talking
Right next to them.
The Kingdom had come to earth
In God’s own Son Jesus Christ.
And here he was speaking to them
The treasure was right there.
Many heard him speak,
But few dared to follow.
That is the bad news this morning.
Few were willing to see and hear the Kingdom.
Few were willing to see the treasure before them
Few were willing to work for the harvest that God had in mind.
The Harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
But the bad news this morning is also the good news.
A few did listen.
In this mornings story,
We hear that the number was 72.
72 people were willing to hear the good news of the Kingdom.
72 were willing to obey.
72 were willing to go into the field’s of the Kingdom
and bring forth a harvest.
Now, I should tell you that this number is not an accident.
It is not the first time that we have seen this number in Scripture.
We see it for the first time in Numbers 11: 16-25.
The number seventy-two or seventy in some manuscripts,
probably symbolized all the nations of the world.
It is a number that also reminds us of Moses’ gathering seventy men,
Plus two more, Eldad and Medad, were left behind in the camp.