WE’RE ALL IN IT TOGETHER!
Spirit of the living God, I pray you will grant me a true faith, a sure hope, and a perfect love.
Read Matthew 9:35 – 10:4
The Workers Are Few
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
10 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.’1 What does this mean in your own experience?
In our passage Jesus travels from place to place, teaching in the synagogues and healing everyone he encounters. He is driven by an intense compassion for the crowds. Yet even Jesus, limited by his humanity, was aware he could not reach everyone. Therefore, he told his disciples to plead with God for more laborers and he commissioned them for this task.
If Jesus could not meet every need, then neither can we. This may seem obvious, but we all recognize that there are so many good things we could do and people we could help that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and guilty that we are not doing more.
Jesus dealt with the immensity of the task by sharing out the load with his disciples. However, we can struggle to delegate. It often feels easier to do everything ourselves rather than take time to train up someone else. We can worry that others will not perform tasks as well as us or that people will think less of us if we aren’t doing as much. However, Jesus is our example and he involved the disciples in his mission despite their imperfections and knowing that they would mess up at times and make mistakes. We have been designed to work together as a team: God has shared his gifts out between us rather than giving them all to only one person. We cannot be the body of Christ in the world by ourselves. God uses us all, despite our imperfections and inexperience. Today’s passage subtly reflects this by deliberately repeating the phrase ‘healing every disease and illness’ used of Jesus in 9:35 to describe the task of the disciples in 10:1 too. Despite their shortcomings, the disciples were able successfully to carry out Jesus’ mission. If we work together, we can too.
Dear Lord, help me to have healthy attitudes about my role, seeing myself as part of a team guided by you rather than an individual bearing the load alone.
Heavenly Father, I want to be your faithful servant in the world. Fill me with the compassion of Jesus as I touch the lives of others.
1 1 Cor 12:27
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.