(Luke 10 1-10)
there are a number of things to observe here.
first, the sender. it is the lord, the owner of the harvest. god sees the souls ready to join his kingdom, and he sees the people who can bring them there. so he adds the latter to the former, and his harvest is ready to come in.
second, the sending. a) jesus sends his chosen; b) he sends them in pairs; c) he sends them among potential enemies; d) he empowers them for this mission, provides them with tools.
third, the mission. it is based on trusting that jesus can choose right. it is based on prayer. it is twofold: a hope and a warning.
jesus warns his chosen not to burden themselves with too many things. he warns them about the difficulty of the task: the lamb and wolves story does imply some difficulty. the harvest image implies urgency – and that the time is ripe and must not be lost, or else.
jesus equips his followers with his peace, and allows them to bestow it upon those that are worthy, and take it away from those that refuse to accept it.
in a world cursed by hurry, peace is a rare commodity, a treasure, a resource for restoration. this is what we can offer to this ever-busy world. meeting jesus, experiencing his presence, allowing his peace rest in us and on us – this is to live the hope for the world, so that the world can see it.
in a world of increasing distrust for organised religion, this seems to be the only strategy that works: personal, individual, vulnerable approach to those that are ready to meet a god, and quite negative about meeting a religion. it is to the individual christians, to the local congregations – and not even congregations, but small groups – that the task of building the kingdom of god among men is entrusted.
we are given tools – prayer, living relationship to christ and to each other, knowledge of ‘the secret’ of the kingdom of god, peace, greater or lesser ability to heal the wounds around us, and the various other gifts the spirit sees fit to give. our responsibility – and calling – is to keep those tools in order by constant practice, and use them for the intended purpose.
imagine, walking out into the harvest field, acutely aware of the urgency of harvest, the tools in your hands, the peace and reassurance of the manager in your heart. this is how jesus sends his chosen into the world. choice people for a magnificent task.