Sermon Summary | July 3, 2016
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few . . .”
Have you ever received the kindness of a stranger or offered help and hospitality to a stranger? It seems unlikely that any of us have not in some way experienced these, among God’s greatest blessings. The gospel lesson for our parish family’s Independence Day celebration Sunday was from Luke 10 where Jesus appointed seventy disciples to go out and evangelize in every town where he himself intended to go. They were commanded to take nothing with them, greet no one on the road, and offer God’s peace to any house they entered. Where welcomed and received, the disciples were to cure the sick and pronounce that God’s kingdom had come near. In the towns where they were not welcomed, they were to shake the dust off their sandals in protest and leave them to their own devices.
In ancient times before Jesus’ ministry on earth, the exchange of precious gifts by a host and guest became a bond of reciprocal hospitality when needed. During Jesus’ time it was a riskier proposition. He tells the seventy that they are being sent out “like lambs into the midst of wolves.” Still, the seventy disciples (and we) are called as Jesus’ emissaries to go forth and proclaim the Gospel so that God can harvest souls for His kingdom. We are not to evangelize from a position of superiority, but from a servant position of equality or even dependence, trusting in God to lead us safely down the path he wants us to take. The ministry of the Great Commission, to spread the Gospel to the corners of the earth, is more important than self. We are to minister to others as an act of God, not of ourselves.
I’ve heard professional counselors say that among the most important advice they offer their patients suffering from depression is to perform acts of service to others you do not know and who will never be in a position to pay you back. Apparently much healing can take place in these acts of unselfish servitude. In my personal experience, there are few acts of grace that result in experiencing the peace of the Lord more than unselfishly helping those in need, and few times of feeling gratitude stronger than receiving the unconditional help of a stranger. Both are truly the work of God in our lives.
How can we display the love of God to all?
Respectuflly Submitted by Mal Underwood