“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Do not go among the Gentiles ore enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.'”
Matthew 9: 37&38, 10: 5&6
Have you ever looked around and thought, “What we really need here is…” and gone on to delineate with pinpoint accuracy exactly the thing that is lacking your town or church or family?
“Somebody ought to start a soup kitchen in this town.”
“What our church really needs is a vibrant youth group, somewhere the teens of our community can belong.”
I know I’ve found myself doing it more than once. But I catch myself now. Because usually when I start thinking that way, I am hoping that God is going to send someone into this situation to deal with things. So I don’t have to do it myself. Deus Ex Machina.
But that seems to rarely be the way God works. At least in Scripture, the person (or people) who notice the problem are usually the people God uses to solve the problem.
Think of Moses. He knew the enslavement of his people was problematic if they were indeed God’s chosen people. But he didn’t think he was the one to free them. God thought otherwise.
Here in Matthew’s gospel, I can see the disciples praying along with Jesus during chapter nine. There is much nodding of heads in agreement and a vigorous “Amen!” or two. After all the healings and gospel proclamation of chapters eight and nine it’s obvious Jesus will never meet the need all by Himself.
But I imagine there was more than one look of shock in chapter ten when Jesus then told them that it was they who would be going out, it was they would be preaching and performing miracles. They who would be sent out “like sheep among wolves.”
I think it is a natural human reaction. We can see the problem clearly enough but somehow we never imagine we are the ones God will use to make things right.
This precisely this same ground Jesus covers in the Sermon on the Mount. When we pray, “You will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” what is that other than a prayer of submission to doing God’s will, not our own?
Maybe the next time you pray for that situation that is bothering you, ask whether you, in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus, might be the answer to your prayers.
Lord, I am weak but willing.