Partnerships Bring Strength and Encouragement
We need to hear from you Lord, because you bring understanding, comfort, and encouragement. Help us to quiet our minds, putting aside for a moment the cares of the day. Help us to draw near to You.
Read: Luke 10:1-2, NIV
“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. 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.”
This narrative about Jesus sending out the 72 followers to the villages where He would soon be going follows a pattern that is found in a number of places in the New Testament. It is easy to see that Jesus was very focused on getting these followers into a missionary frame of mind. Today we are going to explore the fact that, in this instance, the missionaries are sent out in pairs. There are any number of possible reasons for this and the passage does not offer us any information. In the ancient Middle East, there were many dangers for travelers. Robbers often took advantage of the vulnerable. Just after this passage Luke recounts the parable of the Good Samaritan where just such a calamity befell a traveler. With the lack of communication and emergency services, if you had a mishap it could be difficult to get help. They were also likely to experience less than a warm welcome in some of the places they would be visiting.
There is also a more positive reason for working in pairs. They could offer each other encouragement. They were being asked to leave the warm glow that surely was experienced in the presence of Jesus, and to go out into the “real” world with all of the above mentioned harsh realities. I can think of a good metaphor for this situation. When burning a decent sized log, even a very dry log, It will not burn well unless it is either sitting on top of a deep bed of burning embers or resting against another log that is also burning. In this latter case, once the logs have burned down and gotten smaller, you will need to push the logs together so that they are again touching.
When we are gathered together and worshiping the Lord and enjoying the fellowship of likeminded people, our faith can feel very natural and real. Later, when we are outside of that setting, we can experience a sense of being in another reality that seems very real as well, but is very secular. If in this secular setting, we have an opportunity to share the Gospel, it can seem flat and unconvincing. At times like this, we can benefit from being with another believer who will encourage us and help us present a united voice.
Help me God to prosper in the community of believers in my church. Help me to form bonds of friendship that strengthen me. God, I want to be sent with my fellow believers on a mission to share the good news about Your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.