TEXT: Luke 10:1-4
I have a friend whose emails always end with a signature: “saved to serve.” Every time I receive an email from him, I am reminded of this truth that as a Christian I am not only God’s child but also his servant. This truth applies to all believers. There are no spectator ions in the kingdom of God. There are no bench warmers in the Church but all are children as well as servants of Christ.
And in the passage we have read, we see three important things that Christ has to say to us regarding our role as servants in this world. As we go out to serve, we need to reflect and keep in mind these three truths that Jesus gives in the passage:
The first truth that Christ tells us is that the service is vast. The vastness of the service (v. 2)
Jesus says, “I am sending you out to serve but the service is vast. It is huge, therefore, pray that God should send out more servants into the field.”
Friends, the work of the Lord out there is very huge and the laborers are a few. But sometimes we don’t act like the laborers are a few, do we?
I remember meeting an old Christian friend of mine after so many years since we last saw each other. He asked me what I am doing nowadays. I told him I am in the ministry and asked him what he was doing. He told me that he is in business and he went further to say that there are a lot of people involved in ministry and thought that his services are not need.
I said, you are wrong my brother. The laborers are a few, God desires you to serve him as well. I don’t mean that you should stop being a businessman, not at all. But you can do business and still serve Christ.
I know many who think like that. Many who believe that service for God is only for pastors. But this is not right. “The laborers are a few.” For us who are already in the ministry Christ is also reminding us to “pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
I don’t know how many of us in ministry do remember to pray earnestly that God should send out more laborers. I often fail in this area but Christ desires us to pray for more laborers to come into the field.
Another truth we can draw from Jesus’ words in the passage is that Christians ought not to spend time opposing or fight against each other instead of serving together because the laborers are already a few. For the years that I have been in ministry, I have seen that Christians can shoot at their fellow Christians for various reasons instead of forming a strong front to serve Christ.
So, Christ is reminding us that the service is so vast. Please pray earnestly for more laborers. Probably, Jesus said these words after noting that when he earlier sent out the twelve on a similar mission as we read in Luke 9, the twelve apostles met someone who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name. And the Apostles stopped him because he was not one of them. But Jesus rebuked them and said, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.
As Christians, we are not competitors or enemies but children of one Father seeking to glorify him through the power and grace of Christ. Therefore, Jesus commands us to pray for one another.
The second truth that Christ is giving us in this passage is that as his servant I am vulnerable. The Vulnerability of the servant (v. 3)
Christ reminds his servants that they are very vulnerable when he says that I am sending you out as lambs among the wolves. Now, when you compare lambs to wolves you see a very huge difference. Lambs are weaker, wolves are stronger. Lambs are defenseless, wolves can defend themselves.
I wish Christ had said that I am sending you out as a strong lion among the weak deer or impalas. But no, he compares his servants as lambs among the deadly wolves. Why? Christ wants us to know that as we serve him, we need not to depend on ourselves but to always depend on him. We are lambs and he is our Good Shepherd. A good shepherd lays his life down for his lambs. We should trust Christ to take care of us as we serve him. Don’t put your trust in your academic qualifications or your eloquence or your smartness. All these will fail. Only Christ will never fail you.
God in Proverbs 3:6 and 7 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Serving the Lord might be very challenging indeed because we are like lambs serving among the wolves. This calls us to trust Christ always. As we serve, we need to remember to trust in Christ always. He is our good shepherd and there is no way we can serve without his help and guidance. If we try to serve God without Christ, we will surely fail.
Martin Luther is one of the people that God has used greatly and graciously. However, as great as the story of Martin Luther sounds, Luther knew very well that he could do nothing on his own. Without Christ, Luther’s work was in vain. That’s why he confessed in that famous hymn, “A mighty fortress is our God:”
A mighty fortress is our God, a strong wall never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient enemy conspires to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
If we in our own strength confide, our striving will be losing;
Unless God’s Man is on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
You ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord of Hosts is His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
As we serve, we should remember that we are vulnerable and the battle is not ours. Only Christ can win this battle. We should trust him and him alone.
The third truth that Christ is giving us as his servants in the passage is that the service is urgent. The urgency of the service (v.4)
As an African when I first read this verse, you know what my reaction was? I thought to myself: “How can this be. Greet no one?” Yes, that’s what actually the verse says, “Greet no one on the road.”
Why? Because the service is urgent. The customary greeting of Jews was very similar to our customary greetings in Africa. The greetings are not short but long ones. We stop and inquire about family and other relations. We have long greetings. Similarly, the Jewish greeting was very long. And Jesus says if you greet everybody you meet then you will not have enough time to accomplish your mission; therefore, greet no one because the mission is urgent.
Friends, God has sent to us to serve him and the service is urgent. We should avoid all things that can delay and deter us in our service. It might not be a greeting as such but we should avoid all things that can distract and delay us in our service.
So many things we can think of that can distract us from serving Christ. Perhaps some elements of our culture. We might also think of the love for money. There are some people who are failing to serve Christ for the love of money. They know that they are called to serve but because they love money more they fail to go and serve their Master. This is not to say that money is bad. Money is good but the love of money is not.
God in 2 Timothy 6:10 tells us: “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wondered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
Friends, God is calling us to go. We should avoid any other thing that might distract us from going out to serve.
I remember reading somewhere that in some churches in China, a new believer is welcomed into the church by the pastor saying, “Jesus now has a new pair of eyes to see with, new ears to listen with, new hands to help with, a new heart to love others with.”
As Christians we are the hands of Christ. May we be available to be used by him because as we have seen in the passage that the service is vast; the service is also urgent and the servant is vulnerable. Therefore, lets us joyfully go and serve in Christ’s might alone. Onward Christian Servants!.