Demonstrate, define, delegate and debrief
The first paragraph makes tough reading. Three volunteers are being rejected. Previously we have seen that the 12 lacked power (9:40), lacked unity (9:46-48) and lacked compassion (9:54). Now as Jesus is about to send out the 72, some of the new volunteers lack commitment. The trouble is, we would have accepted them!
The excuses are to do with home and family, both of which are extremely important, given by God and the first place we get to lead and minister! The issue here is that home and family have become more important than Jesus and are thus idols. As one writer put it:
The first man says, “I will follow you wherever you go,” and Jesus says, “Following Me means having no place to call home.” “Oh,” the first man seems to say in response, “well that’s a different matter.” The second man says, “I will follow you, but first I have an obligation at home. I must first bury my father before I can follow You. My family must come first.” Jesus says, “No, I must come first, and the preaching of the gospel must take priority over burying the dead.” And the man seems to respond, “Oh, well that’s a different matter.” The third one says, “Jesus, I most certainly am going to follow You, but the least I can do for my family is to go say good-bye to them.” Our Lord seems to respond, “It’s them or Me.” Jesus says in response to all three, “You must choose Me, or them, but I will not be followed by half-hearted disciples.”
There is nothing wrong intrinsically with each excuse. Being committed to family is important, there is nothing wrong with having a home, nothing wrong with burying your father and nothing wrong with saying goodbye! All are right, great and important. Unless they trump following Jesus. Jesus comes first.
We often demonstrate our love for God by loving others. But we mustn’t love others more than God.
We often demonstrate our love for God by loving our family. But we mustn’t put our family before God.
So Jesus has tackled a lack of power, unity, compassion and commitment. Now he can send out 72 to go on ahead. They go, as we do, with authority to heal the sick and tell people that the Kingdom is here. The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Be the answer to your own prayer for more labourers.
There’s a process to discipleship here with 4 Ds:
- Demonstrate – Jesus has already demonstrated what to do in healing the sick
- Define – Jesus defines how they need to do the task – v. 3-12
- Delegate – They go
- Debrief – as they return rejoicing, Jesus debriefs them – v. 17-20.
What hinders you from being a labourer? A lack of power? Lack of unity? Lack of compassion? Lack of commitment? Ask the Lord to change your heart and go for it! We want to hear joyful stories of what the Lord does through you.