Part Two of a Four-Part Series (Part One can be found here)
Luke 10:1-12 is a key text for those who want to live a sent life. Here are my presuppositions about this section. Living sent is not for a select few, for professional ministers only, for pastoral staff or missionaries or the extremely gifted. Jesus appointed seventy-two others, the laity, and sent them out to do what he did. With this passage Jesus is explaining how to go about finding the people that will become his disciples. I think this text is describing a way of life for every follower of Jesus.
In Luke 10:3-4 Jesus gives a second directive for how we are to make disciples who make disciples. Jesus simply says, “Go!” Why? Because the fields are ripe for harvest. The crop is dangerously close to rotting in the field. And as we go he sends us with a sense of vulnerability, dependency, and urgency.
Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.
Jesus sends his followers out as vulnerable baby sheep (lambs) among savage wolves. He likens the task of finding and making disciples to a high stakes mission where the sent one might get eaten. Why? Because making disciples is a dangerous proposition. However, sheep in the pen are in no danger or threat of being eaten by our enemy. So Jesus pushes us out of the fold to where his lost sheep are. But our vulnerability in the field isn’t a liability. It’s an opportunity to depend upon Jesus, “that Great Shepherd of the sheep who will equip you with everything good for doing his will,” as Hebrews 13:21 says. We may be vulnerable and powerless, but he isn’t.
Frequently I hear pastors bemoaning the lack of involvement of the men in their congregations. Maybe John Eldredge was right with his book Wild at Heart? Maybe more men aren’t engaged in disciple making because we’ve bored them with our picture of Christianity. Could our desire for a safe, suburban Christian experience have undermined our disciple making mission more than we realize? I have a hunch; recapture the dangerous urgency of the disciple making mission and men will follow.
Jesus also sends his followers out provisionless. “Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals.” Jesus stripped the seventy-two of the extra, ancillary things unnecessary to the disciple making task. In sending them out provisionless he was preparing them to be dependent on him.
Sometimes I think the wealth of resources available to us here in the West has hindered our disciple making more than it has helped. We’ve become dependent on our wealth, resources, curriculum, clever strategies, ministry fads and latest disciple making schemes so much so that we’ve forgotten how to depend upon the Great Shepherd himself. That Jesus sends his followers out provisionless, utterly dependent on Him for survival and success, tells us something about the disciple making task. He is the only provision we really need. Do you believe that? Does your disciple making activity prove that belief?
The disciple making task is such an urgent task that Jesus instructs his followers to forgo the lengthy, customary greeting of the day to get on with the business at hand. “Greet no one on the road.” These words scream urgency. Time is of the essence. The harvest fields are white!
Most wide-spread, spontaneous disciple making movements that I can think of off the top of my head have operated with this sense of urgency. Maybe one of the reasons we haven’t seen a disciple making movement in the West is because our churches and families have become urgent about the wrong things. I can think of a hundred other good, church related activities that, frankly, have become more urgent than my calling as a disciple maker.
If you are a church leader here is where you can really model for your people the heart of Jesus. As much as you are able, prayerfully cultivate this sense of urgency. Help your people see what’s at stake. The Amber Alert has already been posted. Lost sheep are in danger of being eaten by wolves. So, sound the alarm but not in an alarmist kind of way. Rally the fold to the Shepherd who will then lead his sheep.
Go vulnerably. Go dependently. Go urgently. Does that describe how you go about making disciples? Live sent!
Coming soon…Part Three
(Part One can be found here)