“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.” (Matthew 9:37-38)
Matthew tells the story of Jesus sending his twelve disciples out into the world to do ministry. He empowers them to heal and to exorcise demons. Then he tells them to go with nothing to support themselves; they are to rely on the generosity of the people they will meet. This is the “sheep among wolves” text; it is where we hear Jesus talk about how disciples will face rejection from their family and persecution from their enemies. It is not a pretty picture and it might be seen as a discouragement from true discipleship.
Jesus calls us to a difficult life of discipleship also. It may not seem as severe as what Matthew describes, but there are difficulties nonetheless. We must accept the difficulty with joy, humility, and an eagerness to sacrifice our life for life in Jesus Christ. In our culture, however, this seems so foreign and contrary to conventional wisdom. We want comfort and convenience simply because most of us can have it. We seek to care for “us” first and then others. God and God’s plans seem to take a place way down the priority list for many of us. How sad this is.
The cost of discipleship may be as small as the little extra gas it takes to go pick up a church member who needs a ride to church or to the doctor or to the store. It may only cost you a few minutes of your time to call someone who is lonely or grieving or just not feeling well. It might cost the price of breakfast for a neighbor who doesn’t get out much. The relative costs of discipleship can be high and burdensome, or they can be minor and fulfilling…It’s up to you.
I can’t tell you how many times over the years that I have gotten up very early to go be with someone at the hospital before they go into surgery. It’s not that I was particularly keen about getting out of bed that early; I would rather sleep. But I let God be in charge on those mornings and my whole day was better and brighter because of the time I spent with those people. That is not to brag; it is to say, “Thank you, Jesus, for a really great day!” You see, it often doesn’t take a lot of effort to be a disciple; it just takes being willing to allow God to inconvenience you a bit.
Putting this issue in the realm of “inconvenience” helps me a lot. Is it convenient for those people to be going through surgery? Is it convenient for someone to grieve the loss of a loved one? Is it convenient to get to a point where you are dependent on others to get you to church or to the doctor or to the store? Is it convenient to be lonely, to be unemployed, or to be hungry? Wow! My inconvenience doesn’t seem nearly as important as it once did…How about yours?
May God inconvenience you today,