In Luke 10 Jesus is appointing 72 of his followers to go out ahead of him and to spread the message and to see which towns will be open to his message. Now I think that his instructions to this group of believers is unique to their purpose in aiding Jesus’ earthly ministry, but there are also some useful instructions for us today. In verses 2 and 3 he tells them to pray that God will send his missionaries into the world, and then tells them that they are the ones that are being sent, but that it will be dangerous. At that point in Jesus’ ministry I think that some of the disciples had been living in a bit of a bubble and hadn’t yet realized the kind of persecution that they would undergo in their lifetimes, and Jesus was preparing them for what was to come. I think that similarly Christians in America, and especially those who have grown up in the church have been living in a bubble. We have been a predominantly Christian nation for several generations, but our nation is quickly moving away from God and I personally believe that within my lifetime we will start to see a lot more persecution of the church. So those of us that plan to be bold with our beliefs and plan on spreading them to those around us need to be ready and understand that there are dangers associated with being a Christian and being different from the world.
In verses 4-8 Jesus describes how they should move about and how they should act while they are staying in these towns they are visiting. The summary of these instructions is that they need to move with haste and purpose and while they are staying as a guest in these towns they need to live simply and humbly. They were to take whatever was given to them gladly and not complain about any food or accommodations. I think that for us today we need to remember to live with a purpose and to not let ourselves be distracted by fancy living or money or other things of this world. Our lives are relatively short and there is a great deal of work to be done for the Kingdom. I’m not saying that we should go around without a wallet or purse or shoes like these disciples were instructed, but that we should lead simple lives so that we have more time for God.
At the end of Luke 10 in verses 38-42 we have the story of Mary and Martha, sisters who hosted Jesus while he was traveling and teaching. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to all that he said while Martha ran about getting food and things ready for all of the visitors. Finally Martha had enough and told Jesus to tell Mary to help her with the housework. Jesus replied.
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Again a lesson to live simply and to put spiritual matters ahead of physical issues in our lives.