Luke 10:1-12 (ESV)

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem to complete what God ordained for him. With the goal of getting the message of the kingdom of God out to as many as possible, Jesus appointed more than the twelve to prepare people for his ministry. Time was short, and there was much to do, so he selected seventy-two individuals as his representatives. They were told to go without money, suitcases, and extra shoes, and to stay away from small talk on the road. The work of the seventy-two was urgent because time was short and their mission was dangerous. There was no opportunity for messing around. They were called to depend on the hospitality of those they met. The seventy-two did the Lord’s work, and the Lord provided for them. When they came across a town that welcomed them, they were to stay there. And when they came across a town that rejected them, it was as if the town rejected the Lord himself. The seventy-two were to tell all who would hear that the kingdom of God was near. The Messiah was around the corner. But the cities that rejected this message were in for big trouble. Judgment was coming, and even the most notoriously wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will fare better than these in the judgment.

Jesus expanded the group of those he sent out from the twelve to seventy-two. And he charged the seventy-two to pray passionately that God would raise up even more workers, because the harvest was plentiful. Jesus never intended ministry to belong to a select few. Instead, all who follow him are called to his service. Just as the harvest was plentiful then, it is plentiful now. Masses of people today need to sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and listen to an intelligent argument for the existence of God, the sinfulness of man, and their need for reconciliation through Jesus Christ. When was the last time you did this kind of work? The seventy-two prayed earnestly for more workers in the ultimate harvest. Maybe they even prayed for you! Who lives near you or crosses paths with you and needs to hear the gospel? Why don’t you ask her to lunch or coffee, or even just sit down together with a glass of cold water? Then let her know you are here to help her discover Jesus. Your friend’s life may never be the same, and yours won’t either!