Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
It’s blueberry picking time. Last week, Barb and I picked fifty-five pounds of blueberries. That will enhance a lot of cereal and ice cream over the next year. The harvest was plentiful.
We’ve already picked broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, and the tomatoes are just about ready to burst, and the blackberries will be another two weeks. The harvest is plentiful.
We’ve been conditioned to think that God wants more people in his barns, i.e., churches. If we get more people in the pews, God will be happy. I’m not sure that’s what Jesus meant by the harvest being plentiful.
Last week, Jesus was sending out his twelve disciples, with no money, no clothes, no shoes, and telling them to spread the news that the kingdom of God is at hand. This week, he sends out seventy disciples with no money, no clothes, no shoes – tells them to bring their peace to the people they stay with. Heal the sick. Actually, the Greek word can mean “heal” but it also means “serve.” Serve the sick.
If you help people, they’ll help you back.
When you bring peace to them, they’ll feed you, wash your clothes, help you get where you need to go.
When people work together in harmony, helping each other – that’s where you’ll find peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control. This is the kingdom of God.
God is within every person. God’s goodness is plentiful. God’s joy is plentiful. God’s peace is plentiful. You’ll find it in others. The fruits of the harvest are plentiful. Like blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, broccoli, etc.
There are just not enough workers out in the field trying to harvest that peace, love, and joy. They’re too busy trying to pull people into church.
Don’t miss out on harvesting the fruits of the spirit – peace, love, joy, goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control and the like. Go help yourself to it. Serve others and watch how they take care of you.
But we keep thinking: People are evil. They are like wolves.
Jesus said, “I’ll prove it to you. Go out into the fields, go out into the kingdom of God. Don’t take money, or clothes, or shoes. Just go out and serve people. And you’ll find out – people are good. God is in them. Goodness is in them. They want to help you.
We find out how good people are when tragedy hits and we have nothing. Tornadoes, ice storms, fires – they take our money, our clothes, our shoes, shelter. That’s when people start giving out of their goodness. It’s amazing.
If you think people are bad, you’ll think of people as evil, vicious, flesh-eating wolves. What is to fear is their emptiness…their lack of joy, and peace, and hope.
The image Jesus portrays could actually be that people are hungry. They are empty. They want to be filled. Wolves want the emptiness in the pit of their stomachs to be filled.
As harmless lambs, filled with peace, you have something that will fill them.
If you’ve been harvesting in the kingdom of God – you have joy. You have goodness. You have kindness. You have peace. You have more than enough to share with those who are empty.
From what we harvest of God’s abundance, we are filled so that we can fill others. Plant seeds of peace. Plant seeds of hope. Plants seeds of kindness. What you sow, that’s what you will reap. Go out and serve the sick.
The demons of emptiness, despair, and fear in people will evaporate when you’re nice to them. The harvest of peace, love, and joy is plentiful but the workers are few. The kingdom of God is at hand – it’s within your grasp.
Go out and get some of it – be filled, and then share it with others.