July 8, 2001

Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

Later the Master selected seventy [some witnesses read seventy-two] and sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he intended to go. He gave them this charge:

"What a huge harvest! and how few the harvest hands. So on your knees; ask the God of the Harvest to sent harvest hands.

"On your way! But be careful -- this is hazardous work. You're like lambs in a wolf pack.

"Travel light. Comb and toothbrush and no extra luggage.

"Don't loiter and make small talk with everyone you meet along the way.

"When you enter a home, greet the family, 'Peace.' If you greeting is received, then it's a good place to stay. But if it's not received, take it back and get out. Don't impose yourself.

"Stay at one home, taking your meals there, for a worker deserves three square meals. Don't move from house to house, looking for the best cook in town.

"When you enter a town and are received, eat what they set before you, heal anyone who is sick, and tell them, 'God's kingdom is right on your doorstep!'

"When you enter a town and are not received, go out in the street and say, 'The only thing we got from you is the dirt on our feet, and we're giving it back. Did you have any idea that God's kingdom was right on your doorstep?'"

. . .

"The one who listens to you, listens to me. The one who rejects you, rejects me. And rejecting me is the same as rejecting God, who sent me."

The seventy came back triumphant. "Master, even the demons danced to your tune!"

Jesus said, "I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I've given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God's authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you -- that's the agenda for rejoicing."

<The Message >


1. What a wonderful number is 70. It is the number with Moses ascending the mountain to God (Exodus 24:1-11). It is Moses' spirit divided to guide the community of faith (Numbers 11:16-30). It is found in many other images of wholeness -- diversity working together. It is a symbol of the span of life (Psalm 90:10).

What a wonderful number is 72. Aaron and his two sons are added to the seventy heading up the mountain. Eldad and Medad were two additional leaders who received the spirit of prophecy to help guide the community. There is always room for more priests and prophets. Seventy years may turn to eighty, but always we need to use wisely the time we have.

Seventy is always on the way to seventy-two, or eighty. We need to leave room for the marvelous call and sending of GOD in the lives of people. We need to know what it is to live well in the present moment.

Whether 70 or 72 -- listen for the calling and sending.

2. The mountain has been climbed, transfiguration has occurred, the mountain has been descended. Now what? How will this change us?

One key evaluative tool to measure the effective difference an encounter with GOD makes is how lightly we are able to live. Do you sense the humility and trust required to follow Jesus' instructions in following his way? We don't force ourselves and our fundamentals on others. We accept hospitality as it comes. We always start by offering "peace" whether it is returned or not. We live out of an understanding that we are living out of and in the midst of the presence of the kingdom. This presence is as near as our breath, it is knocking on the door from our very doorstep.

For assistance in following Jesus' instructions in living lightly take a look at some alternatives for your life at http://www.SimpleLiving.org.

3. When was the last time you were able to claim that you saw Satan fall? Was it in the quiet conversation which led to someone being comforted? Was it in the feeding of a hungry person through a food pantry? Was it in worship when the town around you had been hit by either a tornado or a tornado-type event disconcerting to all? Was it in a healing through the medical arts and/or an anointing with prayer and oil? Was it in your catching the vision that the call and sending of Jesus was not just for yesterday, but included you as a part of the 72, a part of the "more than"?

So often we pass over these gifts. Let's be a bit more extravagant in our claims, in our living! This is part of the agenda of rejoicing.

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