Recently (and I mean very recently) I’ve started following the lectionary of the church calendar. For those of you who don’t know, the lectionary is a reading track that coincides with the different seasons/weekly themes on the calendar. Every week I’m blown away again with how relevant the readings are, particularly in the Gospels. There will be times where I’m praying to the Lord about a certain burden or issue I have and it just so happens that that particular weekly reading speaks to exactly what I’m going through. With that said, I feel especially stirred from a portion of this last Sunday’s reading from the Gospel of Luke. Read below:
“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.”
Now I’ve read this group of verses before, but for some reason the more I sit with them – the more I pay attention to what’s actually being said, the more I feel haunted by the phrase “lambs among wolves”. Why? Because if there is a battle between lambs and wolves, the wolves win ten times out of ten. Lambs don’t win. Then I start thinking, maybe that’s the point.
As members of the Body of Christ, we are citizens of a kingdom. A kingdom not of this world. We live under the government of God which operates differently than earthly empires. This kingdom is upside down. In this kingdom the servants are the greatest, the last are first, and the “out” are in. If that wasn’t backwards enough, the way to win in this kingdom is to lose. It’s in the losing, in the laying ourselves down, and in the sacrificial death that we make room for God to bring resurrection. Jesus wants to win the world so what does He do? He sends us out as lambs among wolves.
It is important to note that He did not say we are being sent out as wolves among wolves. We aren’t called to try and beat the world at it’s own game. We aren’t called to win that way. It would be like Jesus killing the Romans in order to establish His own rule. That wouldn’t have worked because kingdoms that are founded on violence and bloodshed will end in violence and bloodshed. Only the kingdom of peace remains forever. In the same way, we should share in Jesus’ heart to win the world – not by means of the world (violence, culture wars, hatred etc.) but by laying our lives down willingly for those who will likely not see things our way. I know that’s uncomfortable but if we are going to crucify the flesh, let it at least be so that those around us can witness the resurrection.
Take a moment and think about someone who you would consider to be on the other end of the spectrum from you (be that politics, religion, socio economic status etc.). Now think about how you can go intentionally serve them, and do it. If it feels like there is an inward dying happening on the inside of you rejoice, resurrection is just around the corner.
– Sam McCabe