Our scripture this week is Matthew 9:35-10:8.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
Jesus chose twelve men to be His closest friends and students, but there was a larger group of men and women who followed Him that are not individually named. Perhaps their words and actions are not recorded, but this doesn’t mean they are any less important. If we follow Jesus to be noticed, we are there for the wrong reason.
Jesus taught that we should seek to serve others in our efforts to share the Good News. He never sought glory for Himself, instead He always pointed people toward God as the source of all goodness. Like Jesus, we must not be after fame or recognition as part of our discipleship.
If our actions are performed to attract attention, we are missing the love for others Jesus sought to instill in us. We are thinking of ourselves first when we do this. Jesus said “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28) and we must follow His example.
Gracious God, we are nothing without Your love and care. Help us to value our connection to You above all else and to humbly go into the world to proclaim Your glory. Amen.