Doing God’s work means being completely dependent on him and nothing else.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.
16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
Have you ever taken a work holiday like this? No shoes, no money, no other belongings around. You have to find a random person’s house and just hope that they’ll take you in. You have to eat whatever is given to you – no popping down to the nearest Starbucks, because of having no money, remember? And also, no phones, no internet, no vehicles, because they wouldn’t have had those things anyway.
Probably even when you’re sitting at home, or going to work on a normal day, you still get to have these things. These conditions that Jesus sets down makes his followers completely dependent on God. No itinerary, no booked flights: just going where the spirit leads them. It’s difficult to imagine doing any kind of long-term journey without serious planning and resources.
Also, I like the part in verse 6 – the idea that your peace will return to you if the host doesn’t accept it. Like a boomerang: it doesn’t get wasted or just evaporate. I’ve never really thought of ‘peace’ as being a tangible thing that can get passed around. It’s nice to know that it can’t get ‘used up’ by giving it to the wrong person. When you’re on a mission like this, you’re going to need all the peace you can get.
Head: Can you think of a time when you were completely dependent on God, without any other physical resources?
Heart: What sort of things do you turn to depend on instead of God?
Hands: If you had to take this kind of journey tomorrow and completely depend on God, how do you think you would do?
Prayer: Lord, we are your workers for the harvest and we need to be completely reliant on you. We need you to give us food every day, to give us the energy we need to keep going. We need you to protect us from the wolves, to give us hospitality and safety when we are out in the world. Even when we are in the comfort of our homes going about daily life, remind us that we are still on the journey, still on the mission, and that it’s your strength and your comfort that we are relying on, not our own. Amen.
A song to listen to: Centre My Life
Zoe Harland – Living Church Creek Road