I have been taking some people through the Gospel of Luke, reading it and studying it, and below are certain vital principles for every aspect and area of service, work, ministry and business. These lessons are so very practical and profitable!
We are reading in Luke Chapter 10 of various basic principles when it comes to mission and ministry. Jesus teaches those men He is sending out to travel light. Don't let a lot of luggage hinder you and clutter you, and slow you down. And - don't waste time blethering and gossiping along the way - lit. ‘don't pass the time of day with people’. What does this mean? Don't spend too much time on superficial conversation, so that the time just passes and nothing real has been achieved or accomplished. This short brief mission has the sense of haste and urgency.
"Greet" is not a good translation. It does not mean we are not to say HELLO or GOOD MORNING. We are not to be unfriendly. It is just that Middle East greetings and salutations can take a long time.
It means that we are not spend an hour or two hours, and ALL WE HAVE SAID is HELLO or GOOD MORNING - not when we are on a mission - a work for Jesus - not when He wanted us to be elsewhere doing some real work.
Jesus then teaches those people He is sending out. “Go in a spirit of peace, but if the people do not want the blessing of the peace of God, which will flow through you, then, move on elsewhere. Do not force it upon them. "
This is in contrast with the judgmental fire we read of in the previous Chapter when people did not want Jesus.
When you find someplace to stay - remain there. Eat and drink what they give you. Don't be picky and choosy about your food - what you eat and drink - take what is offered. You are messengers - not beggars.
The worker deserves his wages - the labourer is worthy of his hire.
Ministry is a two way thing. Take from the people you minister to. When you give spiritual help, be open to receive material help. Jesus is giving basic principles here on all kinds of areas, and we need to be reminded of the basic principles which Jesus taught.
Verse 9. Heal the sick who are there. You bring with you the kingdom of God, and that involves wholeness. We saw that when Paul landed on Malta.
Let people know that Jesus Christ the King is near. Jesus can heal people of their sicknesses, and He can deal with their pains and diseases. This power was given for this short time of mission and ministry and outreach.
Jesus is so realistic. He warns them that their success will be LIMITED.
Some will receive you. Some will reject you. All the time this word is being preached and taught and shared, this is on-going. Some will be receiving and embracing your words and witness and testimony, whilst others are rejecting it.
Some are open to what Jesus is saying, whilst others are closed. Some are waiting to hear what God has to say to them, whilst others refuse to hear The Living God.
Then Jesus teaches an amazing truth - To reject you and the ministry you bring will be worse than what was going on in sinful Sodom. Jesus had been to Chorazin and Bethsaida. Jesus had preached and worked miracles there, but there was no spirit of repentance. What an opportunity Capernaum had to accept and receive and follow Jesus Christ, but they would not hear and obey. Capernaum, after all, was His adopted hometown following His being rejected in Nazareth.
Within a few years Chorazin was totally gone. Bethsaida vanished, and today Capernaum remains in ruins - a heap of rubble. Today there are the remains of the synagogue. The foundations of what used to be a prosperous fishing town can be seen - but that is all. His words all came true. They always do!
Verse 16. Jesus then taught these teams who were being sent out. He who listens to you listens to ME - he who rejects you rejects ME - but he who rejects ME rejects HIM WHO SENT ME. It is suggested - that by the use of these words here - Jesus had already experienced real rejection - and was about to leave that area for the final time.
If Jesus Christ appoints and anoints and sends you - there will be those who will be drawn closer to God through you - and there will be those who will wander further away from God because of you. Every preacher and teacher and disciple and follower of Jesus has to come to terms with that.
When they returned from their brief mission, they were filled with JOY. They were radiant. “Jesus it works. Even the demons had to submit to us in your name. "
Jesus says to them - O I saw it all - don't get too taken up with the thrill of success - just rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Beware of any degree of pride.
This can be one of the consequences of effective ministry. You have what you regard as a successful time, and pride can enter. They are no different to us, and we need this solemn warning from Jesus.
With the power of the risen Jesus in us - with the Power of the Holy Spirit upon us - and flowing through us - there will be successes and victories - but these have to be set in their proper place - and all the praise and honour and glory given to God.
Verse 19. Jesus gave these men authority and authority involves the right to command.
Where were all these people when Jesus was crucified? How long did it last?
After Jesus gave them this mild rebuke - He rejoiced in His spirit. He rejoiced that these ordinary people had been spiritually successful, and triumphant over evil. They had been victorious.
Jesus prayed and gave thanks, that God had revealed this to babes. God had revealed this to very ordinary folks - not the learned and clever - not to those who considered themselves to be so wise - but to people who were open to Jesus - willing to obey Jesus - open to receive what Jesus had for them.
There has to be openness continually - throughout our whole ministries - all the time - open to Jesus - openness to God - openness to the Holy Spirit.
v.22. All we know about God, and all we need to know about God, comes through Jesus Christ and through His Word. Now, let that encourage you as well as warn you concerning false and superficial things which can and do attract certain people.
v 23. Jesus then turned privately to His disciples. Because of what you see you are blessed. Prophets and kings have desired to see what you are seeing. Isaiah, Jeremiah, David, Solomon, would liked to have experienced what you are experiencing.
There are profound principles here and solemn warnings regarding the danger of pride when we sense spiritual success. Wise men will pay great heed to these very practical instructions.
Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children's Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
He broadcasts regularly on WSHO radio out of New Orleans, and writes a weekly commentary at http://www.studylight.org entitled “Word from Scotland" on various biblical themes, as well as a weekly newspaper column.
His M. A. and B. D.degrees are from The University of Edinburgh, and he continues to run and exercise regularly to maintain a level of physical fitness.