“To labor is to pray.” — Motto of the Benedictines

Matthew 9:35-10:20
Luke 10:1-20
John 4:31-38

Before Jesus sent the disciples to teach others, he told them to do one thing.

Jesus had just mentioned the need for workers, then he told these guys the first thing they should do is pray.

He didn’t tell these boys to rush off. He told them to pray before he gave them a few instructions. He didn’t suggest a few reading materials, though they probably had memorized the entire Hebrew Bible. He didn’t tell them about some classes they needed to take, and he didn’t give them pamphlets. These guys went without a map, statistics on demographics, or any great deal of experience.

Jesus put his message in the hands of horribly unqualified people. What sort of operation did he think he could run? Just pray? What did he think that would do?

He communicated the message that one thing mattered. These guys just had to depend. Not very macho or efficient, no, but he never claimed to run a Fortune 100, either. He simply wanted his followers to ask God to do the work. He didn’t display much concern with their qualifications or titles.

But another thing: if these teachings Jesus gave carried healing to sick people and life to the dying, why did he not encourage them to hurry it up? Why dawdle with prayer? If the disciples have the goods, why delay?

Perhaps Jesus wanted them to remember whose business represented. These twelve guys did not draft this agenda, and they alone would not accept responsibility for its success or failure. When Jesus talks about a harvest, he refers to the Lord of the harvest.

“Listen up, fellas. We’ll go over this one more time. Whose business is this?”

“The Lord’s.”

“And who is in charge here? Who calls the shots, gets the glory, and does the work?”

“The Lord.”

“Okay. Now pray that you don’t forget it, thinking this is about you and how clever you are. Ask the One in charge. He’ll take care of things.”

I wonder if this would fly today. Would any relief organization looking to heal disease or combat sickness approach their work like this? Would any religious group or organization? Probably few. But maybe that’s because they go about their business their way and God goes about his business his way.

When you see need in the world, what is your first response?
Why would Jesus tell the disciples to pray first?
Are you willing to wait on God before you do what you think he wants done?


© Revolworks 2006