A few years ago, I was at a gym on a Saturday, but I wasn’t aware that their closing time was different from the weekdays I used to go. As I took my shower, I wondered why there was no one there, and the attendant came to rush me. I wonder why he sounded so impatient and somewhat rude.
To make things worse, I could not open my locker after the shower. My glasses were inside it. Maybe I didn’t see the numbers on my combination lock clearly. I was sure I had the correct number, but it refused to open no matter how many times I tried.
The attendant got very impatient and rushed in with a bolt cutter and cut my lock off. Then, I was a little annoyed that he destroyed my favorite lock that I had had for years. As I left the gym, I saw the closing time posted at the front desk.
I felt sorry and told him, “I am so sorry. All you needed to do was tell me that you close at this time, and I would have left sooner.” However, the experience left a bad taste in me, and I decided not to renew my membership. That gym is now closed permanently. Go figure!
Anyway, that was the first time I saw how easily you could break a lock using a bold cutter. No wonder many people got their bicycles stolen easily. Most chain locks cannot survive a powerful bolt cutter.
That reminds me of a fable about “The Crowbar and a Key.” Once upon a time, there was a treasure vault that contained gold and diamonds. A strong and sturdy lock secured the vault. The mighty Crowbar laughed at the lock, saying, “No lock has ever survived my power. I can take it apart in no time.”
Crowbar began prying the lock and soon found he had met a formidable contender. After using his full force against the lock with sparks flying all over the room, he was exhausted. Then a small Key entered the room, and she said, “Why are all the noises and smokes? I know how to open the vault.”
Crowbar laughed, “I have been trying all day long and couldn’t open it. Why do you think you can do a better job, a weak little piece of key?” Without saying a word, Ms. Key unlocked the vault gracefully and effortlessly. Then she said, “I can open the lock because I can feel what’s in his heart.”
This fable reveals an aspect of human nature. Many of our solutions to our problems are like using a crowbar to open a lock. An immediate example is how Russia uses a crowbar to break the lock of Ukraine. In relationships, we often use harsh words to get the point across. It’s a quick-fix mentality.
However, we forget that quick fixes are often not quick. They leave long-term destructions behind. The destructions of lives and properties in Ukraine or any war will take years to repair. In the same way, the destructions we make in our relationships will take a long time to heal because of a shortcut we take.
Back to my lock at the gym, the attendant could have offered to check the combination for me before cutting it off. I wouldn’t be mad if he cut it off after unsuccessfully helping me unlock it. He had a quick fix in his mind before thinking about saving the key or the customer relationship.
I want to compare the story of “The Crowbar and the Key” with Jesus’ teaching of being lambs among wolves. As the Lamb of God, Jesus revealed that the key to unlocking this fallen world is being lambs, not wolves. When we think about lambs, we think about vulnerable creatures, but they are, in fact, the key to the kingdom.
It’s like the Taoist philosophy of being like water. Water humbly seeks the lowly places but is powerful to overcome all hardships in the long run. Today let us explore how Jesus teaches us to be lambs among wolves and accomplish our mission effectively and effortlessly. So, let’s begin!
[Hi! In case we haven’t met yet, I am Sam Stone—the Lightkeeper. You are the light of the world, and I am the keeper! (No pun intended). It’s my calling to help you shine your brightest so that God is glorified in you, and you are satisfied in God.]
The scripture lesson for today is from the Gospel according to Luke 10:1-11, 16-20. [Listen to the Word of the Lord.]
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ 6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’
16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:1-11, 16–20).
[This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!]
Luke had a missionary mindset, and we know that he wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts to tell the stories of the mission of Jesus Christ and his disciples that transformed the world forever. The passage begins by saying,
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. (Luke 10:1).
In the previous chapter, Jesus sent out the twelve disciples on a mission. Now, Jesus sent out seventy others on a mission. The number 12 in the Bible often represents the twelve tribes of Israel, and the number 70 represents the number of the nations around the world based on Genesis.
So, this passage is about the world mission in contrast to the Israel mission. It says he appointed “70 others,” meaning these are other followers than his 12 disciples. Since the number 70 represents the world’s nations, it signifies you and me, who follow him from across the globe.
He is sending you to heal the sick and cast out the demons. What are the demons? We have discussed it before. Briefly, demons are unclean spirits that cause broken relationships. We have been talking about relationships starting Trinity Sunday three weeks ago. Let’s review them briefly because they are closely linked to today’s message.
The Trinity represents the oneness of love—a harmonious relationship between the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. So, wherever there’s God, there’s harmony, love, and oneness in relationships.
The demons symbolize broken relationships. The word Satan comes from a verb meaning to oppose, to reject, and to be adversarial. Therefore, whenever we see broken relationships among families, friends, and nations, we see the works of the demons.
I am sure you’ve seen people in your life that are quick at opposing, rejecting, and protesting against whatever you do. They always respond with an opposing idea as soon as you finish your sentence. Then you know that a demonic spirit is at work. Maybe that’s why we call them the devil’s advocate.
Last week, we explored what you need to survive and thrive in this broken world symptomized by the demonic spirit of rejection. Jesus wants us to build resilience over rejection so we can survive and serve in this world. Jesus himself was repeatedly rejected from birth to the cross. The secret is resilience.
Now, Jesus does not want you to live and survive in this world passively, but he wants you to actively serve and transform this world into a better place to live by rekindling relationships. It’s not easy because you will feel like a lamb among wolves. He said,
“Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.” (Luke 10:3).
How do we survive and serve as lambs among wolves? It sounds like a mission impossible, but if you follow his simple instructions, you can accomplish the mission with flying colors. The first instruction is,
1. Keep a Diplomat Mindset
“After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.” (Luke 10:1).
Notice it says that he sent them “to every town and place where he himself intended to go.” At this point, Jesus was on his final journey to Jerusalem, knowing he would be crucified soon. There were still many towns and places he wanted to go to, but his time on earth was running out. So, he sent them to “where he himself wanted to go.”
Since the number 70 symbolizes the nations of the world, it signifies Jesus wanted to go to every town and place in every nation in the world. It means this instruction is still valid today. You are part of these 70 or worldwide followers, and you are his diplomat to go where he himself wanted to go.
Also, notice that he sent people out in pairs. Why? According to the Old Testament law, you need two witnesses to make a valid testimony in court. Let’s say if you are charged with a crime, the person who charges you must provide two witnesses to testify against you, or vice versa.
It’s human nature that if someone tells you something new, you have doubts and might ignore them, but if two people tell you the same thing, you are more likely to listen and learn more. That’s why Jesus sent them out two by two. So, partner with someone so that you become both diplomats and witnesses.
Being a diplomat makes you relaxed because you are just a messenger, not a salesman. You are not offended for being rejected because they are not rejecting you but whom you represent. Jesus said,
“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” (Luke 10:16).
So, you don’t need to take it personally when the wolves reject you. It’s not about you but about God. You are just a diplomat and a witness. With this mindset, you can relax and be lambs among wolves.
2. Keep an Abundance Mindset
He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2).
By this, Jesus wants you to keep an abundance mentality. There is more harvest than you can handle. If you are not harvesting anything, you are in the wrong field. Move on! Drop the net on the other side, and don’t waste your time there. Go to the next home, next village, or next town because there’s a harvest meant for you to harvest.
How do you know if you are at the right place? Jesus said that hospitality is the sign for you to be there. Otherwise, shake the dust off your feet to move on.
The dust represents the unclean spirit, which causes broken relationships. You don’t want to carry the grudge with you, regurgitating in your head. Let Jesus settle the score with them. Otherwise, you might blow it in the new place by carrying the unclean spirit with you.
Jesus wants you to have a sense of urgency but not the scarcity mentality. The harvest is so abundant that he wants you to pray for even more laborers to be sent by Christ. It’s the field with a 100% employment rate. Abundance mentality keeps you relaxed as lambs among wolves.
3. Keep a Significance Mindset
The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.” (Luke 10:17-18).
You must know that what you do is significant and consequential. You are reshaping the world order from discord to harmony. You will be surprised to see the demons submit to you, meaning the wolves submit to the lambs—the broken relationships become oneness in love.
Jesus said, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.” This verse is both prescriptive and prophetic. The point is what you do is important, significant, and has eternal consequences. But, Jesus said,
“Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20).
It means Jesus doesn’t want us to dwell on what we have accomplished but rejoice in what we have been. Like Jesus, the Lamb of God, you have been lambs among wolves. Your name is written in heaven because of that. There we have it: the three mindsets of the lambs we must keep to survive, thrive, and serve effectively among the wolves:
1. Keep a Diplomat Mindset
2. Keep an Abundance Mindset
3. Keep a Significance Mindset
That’s it for today. I hope you find this message illuminating as much as I enjoy receiving it from the Head Office. Until we meet again, keep your light shining brighter and broader, and harvest the fruit of profound happiness.