24-25a: "A student doesn't get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn't make more money than his boss. 25Be content--pleased, even--when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get." - Jesus' sermon has drawn to a close and He is about to send His disciples out into the world. They are equipped, trained, and inspired but now Jesus discusses the reality of Christian discipleship.
28: "Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life--body and soul--in His hands." - There is nothing to fear in the world as long as our fear or reverent devotion is always focused on the glory of God.
29-31: "What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. 30He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail--even numbering the hairs on your head! 31So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries." - Recognizing how intimately God is involved in our lives can fill our hearts with the assurance we need to boldly step out in ministry.
32: "Stand up for me against world opinion and I'll stand up for you before my Father in heaven." - World opinion is the realm of the "Self." It is a dark, godless world that needs the light of Christ to shine in order for the kingdom of heaven to be built - this is the job of discipleship.
34-35: "Don't think I've come to make life cozy. I've come to cut-- 35make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law--cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God." - God is to be the center of our lives. Any time something comes between us and God it can result in turmoil and upheaval as we choose God first and others do not.
39: "If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me." - We find our selves and our purpose in life is defined by our relationship with Christ.
Points to Contemplate:
Are you content?
Do you feel that the ministry Christ has given you is fulfilling and rewarding? Or do you entertain visions of grandeur? Do you think you were meant for far-better things than this? Do the mundane activities of life bore you? Do you wonder when God is going to reveal an exciting pathway of discipleship? Do you see that what God wants from you is to be Christ to those you meet in your everyday life? That it is in the midst of your daily routine, in your job and with your family, where God wants you to be His hands - harvesting, tilling the soil, and tending the weeds? Do you ever wonder how Christ would live your life if He were in your shoes? Isn't that what He wants from you, to live your life as He would?
What are your fears? Do you fear that you won't be liked and accepted by your peers? Do you fear ridicule or rejection? Do you worry that you might say the wrong thing or offend others by your actions or deeds? Do you think if you are not careful you might step out and suddenly find your self all alone and exposed to the world? Jesus says that your only fear should be of God - a reverent fear of love and respect. Do you fear God? Do you love Him with every fiber of your being in ways that your soul shakes with the knowledge of His overwhelming love for you? Does He reign over every aspect of your life? Is He your King and Sovereign Lord?
Are you looking out for yourself? Before you commit to anything do you first look to see what is in it for you? Have you decided not to teach children's Sunday school because you have no children? Have you only become involved in youth ministry because you have a teenager in the program? Do you not sing in the choir or work on the worship team because you do not have enough time in your busy schedule? Do you measure you involvement in ministry by how rewarding it feels? Are you seeking fulfillment and wonder why you are unfulfilled? Have you tried seeking a deeper relationship with Christ by setting aside your needs and desires and by placing God first? Promise of the Gospel:
As we walk through life there are many unanswered questions we face that can cause worry and alarm. Will there be enough money? Will we be safe and secure? Will we be loved and accepted? Will peace reign and turmoil subside? Will we be richly blessed and will our loved ones be cherished? As Jesus sent His disciples out into ministry He recognized that the fear of the unknown could overwhelm their ability to minister and spread the good news of Christ's love. He tells us that our only fear should be reverently focused on pleasing and following God. All matters and all issues of life outside this one primary focus are comparatively moot. If He loves and cares for a single bird then how much more He will do for His disciples. The more we dwell in the Word we will find that we are called to be Christ in every moment of our lives. Our job as disciples is to live as Christ himself would live if He were in our shoes, meeting the people we meet, and working the tasks of life we face.