Saturday, October 18, 2014

Send Out Laborers

At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me.  May it not be held against them!  But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.  2 Timothy 4:16-17B

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”  Luke 10:2 

Paul and Silas, bound in jail
Had no money for to go their bail
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on

Hold on (hold on), hold on (hold on)
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on

Paul and Silas began to shout
Doors popped open, and all walked out
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on
Hold on (hold on), hold on (hold on)
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on
(From civil rights song based upon “The Gospel Plow”)

Paul is very disappointed – an emotion we share but that we see very little of in what was written by the evangelists about Jesus.  The Christians had abandoned Paul and did nothing to defend his case in court.

“Those who serve Christ are as prone to disappointment as anyone else. If the Gospels are any indication, we might even say that disappointment is a certainty,” according to an article in Christianity Today by John Koessler.   Our savior has come but are we blind to His purpose for us? 

Paul’s persecution was part of the long line of prophets who were not respected in their native land, nor anywhere else.  John the Baptist experienced this.  Jesus did.  The rest of the disciples. Jesus’s commission of them foretells that the work will be long and hard.  The harvest is abundant.  There is much work to be done.  However, there are few people willing to pick up their cross daily and follow Him.  However, that is not what Jesus promises.  He does not say we will not be disappointed.  He does say we will be rewarded:

For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.  For the scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him.  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  (Romans 10:10-13)

Disappointment goes both ways.

When were you disappointed with God?  Did you not get a long-sought-after promotion?  Are you having trouble getting along with your family, friends, neighbors or co-workers?  Was there something that you prayed about and your prayers were not answered? 

When might the Lord have been disappointed with you?  (No need to answer that).

How does God want us to deal with the emotion we call disappointment?

In one blog I read, the writer recounted the story of Joseph Barsabbas – a prime candidate for disappointment and for walking away from his ministry.  Joseph was a candidate to replace Judas Iscariot as one of the Twelve, but when the votes were counted, Matthias was chosen (Acts 1:26).  How would you feel?  I’ll bet that was a blow.  The Bible never mentions Joseph again. But tradition says he later became the Bishop of an area southwest of Jerusalem and died a martyr. Assuming that’s accurate, imagine what Joseph may have learned about disappointment and how he might have counseled Christians in his day or us today.  Despite the disappointments that pursuit of success in life, in business or in ministry, we must keep on keeping on.

No comments: