Well it’s hard to get good help these days. This is an expression we have all heard before and dare I say, have used ourselves on occasion. Today’s gospel reminds me of this expression. We read how Jesus is sending out 70 followers into the community, neighborhoods and towns. He says that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Luke 10: 2). There is work to be done. The Kingdom of God is near, in fact, may already be here amongst us, and we need more people. This is essentially the message of the opening verses of today’s gospel.
How often have we come to the start of any given week and feel overwhelmed by the meetings, activities, responsibilities, driving kids from one event to the next or anything else that we may have on our plates. School is out, but they don’t seem to be any less busy. At least not in my household. So many things to get done, so little time. Before we realize it, Wednesday is upon us, and the downward trend towards the weekend begins. Our days and weeks slip past us at a frightening speed that it is a wonder we are able to keep up with the demands of everyday life.
So, what are we to do? Do we sit and complain and vent to whoever will listen about how much stuff is on our plate? Or do we simply soldier on, go through each day and commitment make it to the weekend where we may, if we are lucky find rest?
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. As busy as our everyday lives can be, the work of the Lord is also busy. It takes 70 people this time to go into the neighboring towns and communities to visit people and places where Jesus intends to go, implying he hasn’t gone there yet. The instructions are simple, yet profound. Essentially the followers are to enter a town and knock on the door. When answered they have two messages to bring. “Peace to this house” (Luke 10: 5) and “The Kingdom of God has come near to you” (vs. 9). They are to bring nothing with them. They are only meant to bring themselves. If they are welcomed, then great, they can get on with healing the sick and other work and accepting the hospitality that is offered. If not, they are not to create a fuss. This is not a time to complain and Kvetch about how long they have travelled or how tired and thirsty they may be. No this is not about them; this is about the work at hand and the Kingdom of God that is near. Even when rejected by a town or house, after wiping off the dust, they are to still proclaim that the Kingdom of God has come near (vs. 11).
“Peace to this house” and “The Kingdom of God is near.” Two powerful messages that in many ways captures the essence of Christian living. We live busy lives where we are pulled in many different directions. I wonder how our days and weeks would feel if we approached each day that to bring peace to every house, shop or office we enter and that the Kingdom of God is near, so near that it is in this very house, between these two people, the cashier and sales person and everyone else we encounter by chance or intention. Maybe we need to learn to slow down just enough to pay attention and acknowledge that God is here, right here in the ordinary, everyday life of you, me and everyone else.
God calls us each and every day to tend to the work of Kingdom of God. So, as you are sent this week along with the seventy, pay attention to the ordinary. Remember what is ultimately important in each day with each task. God is there, ready to meet you and reveal another part of the Kingdom that we inherit.