Read: Matthew 9:37; 10:1-4

. . . but the laborers are few. (9:37)

When Jesus sees crowds of the helpless and harassed, he sees an abundant harvest. His plan looks anything but strategic. He does not seek a bigger preaching venue or an extended mission to spread his fame. Instead, he sends out twelve people to do what he did and say what he said.

Matthew calls them “apostles” here for the first time. The title “apostle” describes one sent as a special representative. And indeed, they are given authority to heal “every disease and every affliction” (10:1)! What I find intriguing about the twelve is how ordinary they are: fishermen, a tax collector, even a thief. Jewish leaders later marveled that these were “uneducated, common men” whose only training was they had “been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). The harvest is plentiful, the laborers are few, and they are rather ordinary. This is the way of the kingdom. The needs will always appear greater than the capacity of those called to meet them. Yet, Jesus sends them (and us!) out into that sea of harvest.

These names remind me of people our Words of Hope family empowers to share Christ: a school teacher in Kashmir who secretly records gospel messages to be broadcast to his region, and a dog breeder from Bhutan who transformed his home into a studio and training center with a vision to plant a church in every village of his homeland. We may be uneducated common folk, but God sends us out into his harvest. —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, ask God to show you where he is sending you.