August 9, 2022

God’s Compassion and Jesus’ Disciples 03-07-2022

3rd July 2022 (Pentecost 4)

Sermon Title: God’s Compassion and Jesus’ Disciples 

(2 Kings 5:1–14 & Luke 10:1–11)

                                                                                  By Heeyoung Lim 

It is a young Israelite servant girl who brings about Naaman’s healing, suggesting he go to a prophet in Israel to be cured. Indeed, Naaman’s liberation and healing from disease come through several unexpected sources: a young servant girl, a prophet’s messenger, Naaman’s own servants, and the water of an insignificant river.

When the king of Israel was requested about healing of Naaman from the King of Aram, he focuses on what appears to be the impossible and worries about situations he faces in contrast to the servant girl, who focuses on the possible in sending Naaman to Elisha. The prophet Elisha offers a solution. The people who convince Naaman to try what Elisha suggests are also the servants.

We are left with a sense of amazement not only at Naaman’s healing, but also the fact that he has experienced compassion from the prophet Elisha and the various servants. These passages remind us God is good. Whatever we are facing, individually or collectively, God offers solutions through unexpected sources. 

Where is our water for healing and restoration? Can we rise from the waters together? When have we found ourselves alone or isolated? How has God’s compassion transformed those situations? When has that compassion come through unexpected sources? What moments of compassion did we experience or see in our community during arduous time? What pandemic or post-pandemic experiences have felt like healing waters to you?

The Lord works through His people and shows His compassion for all people with all kinds of needs. God’s compassion flows to those who follow His word. His grace and power are available to those who trust in Him and come to Him on humble faith, whatever their need in life. Faith is acting on the word of God. God has made Himself and His ways known through His word. In discipleship and daily living, we are called to be open to the work of God. When we are open, we can discover it in different places and from different voices, and from different experiences.

In Luke 10:1–11, Jesus sends out 70 disciples to proclaim that the kingdom of God has come near; the compassion of God is indeed present in our world. Jesus was on mission, preaching the kingdom of God in the towns and villages. He was also on the way to Jerusalem to meet death. Time limitations prevented him from accomplishing the mission by himself. Even the Twelve could not do it all. That is why he had trained disciples. He sent out seventy, each with a partner, to prepare the way for His coming. That is what Christian mission is, preparation for Christ to come into lives, into towns, and finally to come again into this world.

Even seventy followers of Jesus could not complete the task. As Christ had told them to accept anyone in ministry who did not reject or oppose them, so He asked them to pray for others to join them to reap the harvest. In Christ’s ministry, the soil had begun to produce, and the harvest was ready. Workers for God’s harvest come when God’s people depend on God and pray for them. 

God’s people on mission show the presence of God’s kingdom, and Jesus’ disciples on ministry in their daily living show the love of Christ. In the meantime, rejecting God’s messengers is rejection of God Himself. May we bless the house or people with God’s peace and pray that God will bring wholeness and blessing and harmony to them. A peace-loving, hospitable host will receive God’s peace and blessing. 

As in Luke 10, the goal of life on earth is to have our name written in heaven. Jesus is the only way to know and experience God, but we can experience God’s compassion through our faith and love. Abundant life comes through perfect love of God and compassion of neighbours. A neighbour is anyone who sees a need and moves to meet it. Love for God is shown by devotion to His Word and practice of compassion to neighbours. Persons who dedicate their lives to following Jesus find rewards in service and in the kingdom of God.

God is always at work, but we cannot recognise all. May we find where God is at work in our daily living and ministry and join Him in His mission. I hope we can depend on God more and more rather than let worldly cares distract us from His mission. We have Known that judgment comes on those who reject Jesus. May we look to Jesus to find what God is like and love God with everything we are. 

I sincerely appreciate that our church members show love for our church members and neighbours in concrete ways that meet their needs. May we focus our life on God’s Word rather than social obligations and duties.

Harvest does not wait. If we cannot reap on time, it can be withered or ruined by weather. However, not just anyone can harvest this field, the selection and sending out the workers belong to God. He is the owner of the field who cares for and controls everything. God’s co-workers ask Him to send help to finish the harvest. It implies that they will accept whomever God sends, because God sets the standards and job requirements. Jesus’ disciples cannot be choosy about those whom God selects and sends. 

Jesus did not promise the task would be easy. Rather, His command placed disciples at the crossroads. Workers in God’s kingdom harvest should expect rejection. The harvest must be reaped while it is ready. The kingdom of God is near, there are ministry opportunities that call for immediate action in our daily living. The kingdom is not just something far away in space and time. It is a present reality for those who see God’s power at work.

Even at life’s crossroads, may we remember and appreciate Jesus’ promise, being His disciples and God’s co-workers, and God’s peace and blessing. God’s glory is supreme and beyond our understanding, and we must do nothing that would detract from the glory that belongs to God. I believe that we are all God’s co-workers and Jesus’ disciples who are working in His harvest. May our daily living be transformed in God’s compassion and the love of Christ.

Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)