Good morning and welcome to Wednesday. Yesterday our passage ended by Jesus instructing his disciples to pray that the lord of the harvest would send out workers into his harvest field. I wonder what Jesus does next?
Chapter 10 verse 1 says: “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”
Then there is a list of the 12 disciples’ names, ordinary men… then V5-8:
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “…Go to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
Jesus asks us to pray for more workers and then, with his next breath, he calls his friends over and sends them out into the harvest field. You can hear some of them saying “Er, Jesus… I was asking that you would send some workers… send some other workers… I was asking that you would send someone … not me!”
Let me tell you a story about a postal worker, Aleksey Germash. In April this year the New York Times reported that the post office service Inspector General had received a tip off about a Nissan Pathfinder parked in Brooklyn with mailbags stuffed inside. When Postal Service agents visited the location, they found 20 blue post office bags packed with undelivered mail inside. Agents determined Germash, who worked at the post office in the Dyker Heights neighbourhood of Brooklyn, was the employee who lived closest to where the vehicle was found.
The amount of undelivered mail investigators retrieved was staggering: 10,000 pieces inside his vehicle, 6000 in his apartment and 1000 in his work locker. At least one item was postmarked in 2005.
When investigators interviewed Germash, he said the vehicle was his and that he had hoarded the mail because he was “overwhelmed” by the amount he had to deliver. He told investigators he… “made sure to deliver the important mail.” Germash was released on $US25,000 bail.
This is not a new phenomenon: In 2014, a Brooklyn mail carrier was discovered to have hidden 40,000 pieces of undelivered mail – a total of 1.1 Tonnes – over nine years. The carrier, Joseph Brucato, blamed excessive consumption of alcohol and depression. In 2015 a postal worker in Philadelphia failed to deliver more than 20,000 pieces of mail on his route and instead stashed them in his car and home.
In an article headlined “A Lazy Letter-Carrier,” The New York Times in 1874 reported on the arrest of a Maryland mail carrier who dumped 200 letters into a dock “to avoid the trouble of delivery.”
This is scandalous! Imagine not getting mail that is addressed to you! What must this man be like? A Lay-about? Lazy? Messed up?
Jesus says, “freely you have received; freely give.”
Jesus has given to us so abundantly. Jesus has filled our mail bags but often we get a little confused and think that it is all about me. Thank you Jesus, Thank you for my home and my job and my family and my clothes and my food… The problem that we have is the word ‘my’. And just as the letters that Mr Germash received were not his to do with what he liked, nor are the abundant gifts that Jesus has showered upon us.
Now, we might not have received healing, we may not have been raised from the dead, but we have all experienced the kingdom of God coming near… That is why we are listening to this podcast…
It says in 2 Corinthians 1:4 (from The Message) He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. …
We all have received from God. And just like Mr. Brooklyn postman, what we have received is not supposed to be for just us. God blesses us so that we might bless others. God provides for us so that we might provide for others. God speaks to us, so that we might speak to others. God loves us so that we might love others.
Let’s ask God to show us who we are to deliver to today and trust that he has already given us everything we need.
Dear Father. Thank you for the way that you father us. Thank you for your love and care. Help us to be givers as well as receivers today. Let us be a blessing to everyone around us. Amen.
READING: Matthew 10:1-20
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and illness.
These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Heal those who are ill, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
‘Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts – no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
‘I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.