Not long after Jesus sent the Twelve on a limited commission to preach, He sent seventy disciples out in pairs to preach as well.
“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest (Luke 10:1-2).”
The first instruction He gave them was to pray. This is important; it is the Lord’s work, His harvest. Before the workers begin to work, they must pray.The harvesting of souls is the work the Lord has left his church here to do. If we neglect reaching out to the lost, then we are not on the same page as our Lord.
As we work to become more effective soul-winners, we must remember to rely on our God and seek His favour in prayer.
In verse 17, we learned that “the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.”They were excited at the success of their mission. They experienced the joy that comes from serving the Lord.
Any service rendered to the Lord ought to be an expression of our gratitude and devotion to Him for the grace and mercy He has bestowed unto us. Just serving in gratitude is itself a joyous experience.
God has no need of any unwilling labourer in His vineyard. He doesn’t require any fearful soldier among the ranks of His holy army. The Lord ordered Gideon to dismiss from the army of the children of Israel “Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead (Judges 7:3).”
Our God never compels anyone to serve unwillingly. But let it be known that the loss is ours to bear, whosoever among us refuse to serve with gratitude. For a start, we will miss out on the blessing of the joy that comes from faithful and grateful service.
And at the end of the ages, when the Lord shall reward His servants, can one who was unwilling to serve expect to be welcomed with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant;enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Mat 24:23)?
When we are successful in our ministry, it further adds to the sense of joy. It becomes a further motivation to improve our service. But regardless of seeming success or not, we are called upon to serve. Let us rejoice in the privilege and opportunity to express our humble gratitude.
Some skeptics tried to paint a picture of Christianity as a gloomy religion.They allege that Christians are killjoy and do not want anybody to have fun.But Christianity, instead of being gloomy, actually drives away gloom and moodiness.
We read that these disciples came back from their work rejoicing.Joy comes when the saints are united and live and work together in the will of God. Joy is the Christians’ heritage as a member of God’s family.
But doubts and unbelief, whether as a result of listening to the lies of the devil or not immersing ourselves in the knowledge of Christ, can make Christians afraid of God as a slave driver who doesn’t want us to be happy and who forces us to do things against our will.
This is simply not true. The Scriptures tell us the opposite.
“I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High (Psa 9:2).”
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence isfulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psa 16:11).”
“They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures (Psa 36:8).”
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom 14:17).”
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Rom 15:13).”
Like theseventy disciples, we all enjoy a job well done. We love the sense of having achieved the objective of what we set out to do, especially when it is the Lord’s work.
The Lord, however, gave them—and us—a greater reason for rejoicing than success in ministry. He said to them:
“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).”
Knowing that we are saved by Christ and that we are in a relationship with God is a cause for great joy to the Christian’s heart, and this joy is something only Christians can truly understand.
“Rejoice in the Lord” means rejoice in belonging to Christ, in having His Father as our Father, in being cleansed and righteous before Him and made ‘heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:7)’ and in having salvation and eternal life as God’s gift.
We have the great spiritual blessing of joy because the Lord has redeemed and adopted us. Why should our hearts be troubled?