Let us pray: Dear Savior, equip us for works of service in Your kingdom! Make us strong, bold, and honest in our confession of You as the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Take away our fears over saying the wrong thing, or not being worthy of our high calling as Your heavenly ambassadors. Yes, always remind us that our worthiness comes from You alone, and Your grace is sufficient for our weakness. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE MASTER BUILDER!
Text: Matthew 9: 35—10:8
Fellow Redeemed Workers in God’s Kingdom:
One day a wild goose was brought down by a hunter’s lucky shoot. The goose was just “winged’ and suddenly catapulted from the sky into a farmyard where the domesticated geese, ducks, and chickens were very surprised. Soon they sidled up to this visitor from outer space and began talking to him. They asked: “What is it like to fly?” Well, the goose extolled the glories of flight. “It’s wonderful to soar far above the earth. When you look down all you see are little houses and miniature barns. From the sky this barnyard looks only an inch high!” The farm birds were enthralled. They talked about these sermons on flight among themselves. The goose puffed and preened and soon he even received a special box to stand on so everyone could hear and see him. But, do you know what happened? While the domesticated fowl enjoyed hearing about flight, none of them ever attempted it. And as for the wild goose, even though his wing eventually healed, he just continued to talk about flight and never attempted it again.
Today, Christ calls laborers into His harvest. We can talk about it, or we can soar into His service. So, I guess the moral to this little story is:
DON’T BE A LAME DUCK!
The other night in adult class, I told the young couple I was instructing that: “Of all the world religions, only Christianity teaches that God is love. Only Christianity teaches that God freely loves us, freely forgives us, and freely blesses us.” In our lesson, our compassionate Savior illustrates that truth. As He is going from town to town and helping people by healing every disease and sickness, the crowds grew and grew. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Yes, our loving God always makes time for us. We don’t deserve it. We didn’t earn it. Often we don’t even ask for it. Nonetheless, He helps the helpless because that’s how great His love is for you!
“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.’” Christ knew, since He was true Man, that human beings need a personal touch. We crave having others care for us and put themselves out for us. We crave, we need, that kind of love in action. So, now He encourages, yes even commands His disciples to fill that need. “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” And then Matthew goes on to name the twelve so we could keep track of their exploits in soaring.
Do you know that you are “named” to? Yes, your name is written in the book of eternal life. Christ wrote it there with His holy blood. He put His name on you when you were baptized and came to saving faith in Him. And He re-inks your name every time you ask for and then receive His forgiveness for all your sins.
Likewise, through His forgiveness and the compassion it brings, He has equipped each of you to soar! Maybe you cannot cure cancer, but you can cure a broken heart. Maybe you cannot save a broken marriage, but you can save a broken soul. You do that by getting involved in another’s life. You do that by applying Godly forgiveness and announcing to them Christ’s healing power. You do that by pointing them to heaven, not as some impossible dream, but as a reality purchased for them by God’s eternal Son. People everywhere need and crave the truth. They crave principles to live by that don’t change. They crave knowing that Someone can help them with their broken spirits. Yes, the harvest of souls is plentiful. So, don’t be a lame duck and just talk about soaring—do it!
Where should you start? After all, it’s easy to talk about the need, but it often seems overwhelming when we put an actual face to this work of soaring. Well, again, our Savior gives us direction. Jesus sent the twelve out with these instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.’”
In other words, start with those you know and have something in common with. Start with your family, friends, and co-workers. Start with your neighbors. They are the ducks, geese, and chickens who will give you a hearing. Let’s face it, many of them have broken wings, too. Many of them are jaded by life because they don’t know anything about unconditional love. Many of them mouth the word “forgiveness” but don’t practice it. And all of them possess a deep-seated dread about what happens when they get old, enfeebled, and die.
So, teach them to soar! Teach by example. It’s really not so hard. Live your faith. Pray for them and with them. Talk about how Jesus has helped you with your troubles. The other day I watched as a mother woodchuck coaxed her baby to venture out into the scary world. The baby didn’t want to follow. It was afraid. But the mother kept at it. She coaxed it and eventually it followed—haltingly at first, but finally it got the hang of it. That mother woodchuck didn’t give up on her baby, she kept at it. And I’m sure in a few more weeks it will be munching flowers in my garden!
The more you venture forth to do God’s work of shepherding souls, the better you will become at it. It’s kind of like teaching Sunday School for the first time. The first day you’re apprehensive. But each week it gets better and then one day you realize: “Wow! That was great! The kids really got it and I’m soaring!”
So, I want to remind all of you today: don’t be a lame duck, be a soaring eagle! God has freely given you the gift of a happy, fulfilled life and the tools to teach others how to fly to heaven as well. Amen