Read Matthew 10:1-42
Chapter and verse divisions in the Bible are, at times, unfortunate. Don’t get me wrong, they help us find passages of Scripture. They often help us to identify and separate movements of thought. If, however, we view them as tidy little packages of related themes, we will likely miss something.
Today’s reading is a good example of this. Here we read of the instruction Christ gave to the twelve before sending them out. He tells them…
- What people to reach out to
- The nature of their ministry
- Which items to take and not take
- About the opposition they should expect and how to respond to it
- Marks of genuine discipleship
Even though Matthew doesn’t give us a report of the results of their short term mission trip, we can rest assured that they went out. [In Luke 10, Jesus sends out 70. This passage does include a brief report of the outcome.]
But take another look at the last two verses of Matthew 9. These provide a good bridge to chapter 10.
“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.’” (Matt. 9:37, 38)
Having asked the disciples to pray for harvest workers, Jesus then sent them out as such. That introduces a couple of important thoughts for you and me. Is there a difference between the “people who pray and stay” and “those who go and sow”?
If we understand the command of Matthew 28:19 as a call and commission to all followers of Christ, we see that we are all to “go and make disciples.” If we read Acts 1:8 as a principle for all believers, we understand that all are empowered and propelled into an ever expanding mission that reaches “to the ends of the earth.”
Pray or go? It is not either/or; it is both/and. We are all to go. The location may differ. God may call some to “stay here” while going to their families, co-workers, and neighborhood. Others he may call to go to people on foreign soil and from different cultures. Meanwhile, we all pray that more and more believers are awakened to God’s call in their lives.