After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. – Luke 10:1-3
This past weekend my son and I went to see the new Warner Bros. Pictures movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This movie was directed by Peter Jackson and is based on the fantasy novel, The Hobbit, which was written by J.R.R. Tolkien. In one of the initial scenes of the movie, the wizard Gandalf visits a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins at his comfortable home in the Shire. After introducing himself, Gandalf tells Bilbo, “I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure.” Before the little comfort-loving hobbit knows what hit him, his house is full of rowdy dwarves despite his polite objections. Gandalf was putting together a team for Thorin, king of Durin’s folk, to return to The Lonely Mountain to recapture the dwarf kingdom that was stolen by a gold-hungry dragon named Smaug. Gandalf knows Bilbo better than he knows himself and invites the little hobbit to join the band of adventures.
Bilbo doesn’t want to leave his life of comfort and predictability in the Shire, but something inside of him is called towards the promise of adventure. We find out later in the movie that the little hobbit feels badly for the dwarves because their home has been taken from them. He decides that temporarily leaving his life of comfort and security to help his friends find their true home is worth the risk.
As I watched this wonderful movie in IMAX 3D glory, I could not help but see Christ’s call to His church. Didn’t Jesus essentially say to his disciples, “I’m looking for someone to share an adventure.” In the tenth chapter of the gospel of Luke, Jesus appointed 72 “others” and sent them out in pairs to the towns and places that He was about to go to prepare the way for Him. He said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”
As I have been reflecting on the movie and verses like Luke 10:1-3, it occurred to me that we are also a people who have been displaced from our true home in Heaven by sin and a glory-hungry dragon named Satan. Jesus came to assemble a team of adventures who would be willing to trade their lives of comfort and sin to help their brothers and sisters find their way back home to God. The good news is that we have someone much, much more powerful than the wizard Gandalf to help us in our adventure… Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected to life so that He could send the Holy Spirit to fill all people who will acknowledge their sin (repent) and put their faith in His work on the cross. Jesus said, “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)
So if a real-life adventure lies before us why are so many of us still home in the Shire? Jesus sent the 72 out in pairs on an adventure and when they returned to give Jesus a report about their journey they said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” (Luke 10:17) The Bible says that the joy of the adventure was contagious and, “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” (Luke 10:21)
Jesus said that the “wise and learned” would be less likely to take Jesus at His word. Truth is found through foolishness and Grace is found through faith in Christ alone. Jesus is the Lord of the Harvest and He told us to pray that He would send workers out into the field to harvest souls. He told his workers to prepare the soil, plant the Gospel, and water the plants and that He would take care of the growth when He arrived through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:7, John 15:5).
So how about it… A real-life great adventure lies before us. Jesus is looking for folks that are foolish and faithful enough to take Him at His word and join Him in the harvest. He is looking for people who are courageous enough to trust the Holy Spirit within them to step out onto the open road with a friend and see where it leads them. It’s time for the hobbits to leave the Shire. Will you join me?
Dear Lord, forgive me when I am too wise and learned to see the truth that you have revealed in you Word and in my heart. Please send out workers into the harvest field for your Glory! Fill your church with your Holy Spirit so that your Bride will be fruitful.