“Mission Control” David N. Mosser March 1, 2005 Matthew 9:35 -10:1 Today’s lesson follows Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) and Matthew’s narration of a variety of Jesus’ miracle healings. Here in Matthew, Jesus addresses the mission for disciples. There are two things I want emphasize. First, Jesus felt compassion for the crowds because they appeared as “sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus’ discernment was, of course, extraordinary. Jesus had a sixth sense about hurting people who needed what God could provide. Perhaps, Jesus possessed a special spiritual discernment, but He no doubt had an uncanny ability to know people’s hearts. Discernment is a rare spiritual gift, but a select few do have it. Some uncommon persons can sense when someone is troubled – even before they speak. I have heard people declare of their favorite pastors: “They knew what troubled me even before I said a word.” Second, Jesus granted his disciples authority Jesus sanctioned them to do ministry in His name. Jesus exhorted them to cast out unclean spirits and to cure every disease. Conceivably, Jesus empowered His disciples to become part of his ministry. After all, no one person can do everything. Jesus, as a person of wisdom, knew that the Kingdom of God offers an immense task. Jesus thereby commissioned others not only to follow Him but to join in the ministry of God’s redeeming love. Jesus here followed an Old Testament precedent. In Exodus 18, Moses’ father-in-law noticed Moses’ leadership burden and the necessity of others aiding Moses. An old maxim puts it: “Many hands lighten the load.” We are each called to be in ministry to others. “But how,” we are prone to ask. We all spend ample time and energy training ourselves and our churches to take care of those in crisis – where and when should we be ready and how do we know a crisis when we see one? Let me share a story. “In the spring of the year, the time when preachers go out to golf” (2 Sam. 11:1), some preacher friends and I decided to go out to golf. We rarely had the opportunity for fellowship, so we decided to play golf. None of us was any good at golf. However, we wanted to catch up on our lives and let our hair down a bit. On a golf course few people expect many preachers, thus we were just regular guys-and we were happy to be together and alone!!! We were alone, that is, until about the third hole, when Jim joined us. Jim was a much better golfer than we were, but evidently wanted some company. We confessed that we were preachers and were soon on our best behavior-no complaints about parishioners, budgets, and the work of ministry. We did not really mind the tag-along-except for Rev. Joe who was disappointed by the turn of events. Joe began to play badly as Jim hit one spectacular shot after another. Joe was on a slow boil. He kept saying under his breath, “We have one afternoon to ourselves and then ‘knuckle-head’ shows up. Why can’t we ever do anything by ourselves?” Finally, on the 16th hole, I noticed Jim had a nice suntan and had said little. So I asked him if he had a job. He reluctantly told us that the doctors had diagnosed him with a rare inoperable brain tumor. The doctors told him to make the best of the next six months because that was about all the time he had left. We asked about his family. Didn’t he want to spend time with them? Jim confessed that his wife said she couldn’t “just watch him die,” so she and their children moved to California with her parents. Jim then said that he came to the golf course daily and tried to be with people. In fact, Jim had never played golf until the doctors gave him his bad news. Suddenly our day of fun turned to an opportunity to do ministry. I really felt sorry for Joe because usually he is the most compassionate person I know. It did show us, however, that we need not look far to find someone in need of community and the word of hope that Jesus provides. When God tells us to take authority, and we take it, we will surely find a use for it immediately. As Christians we do not need to look for people in crisis. They are already all around us. May we give God thanks for helping us with a task that is much bigger than we are! _________________________ Sermon brief provided by: David N. Mosser, Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Arlington, TX. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.