No matter how many books a person reads about his or her favorite sport, and no matter how many games are watched, if someone wants to be a player they have to put their boots on and get out on the field. We call it hands-on experience, learning by doing, and without it a person is simply not equipped for the task. This universal truth even applies to the Christian’s witnessing and evangelism. Sometimes we hear people say that they don’t want to get involved because they are not completely ready. They must understand that active participation is a vital part of becoming ready. Starting small, step by step, building up, is the way to go. As the Holy Spirit leads us, our skills, experience, and confidence increases.
Matthew 10:1–14 records Jesus equipping His disciples and then sending them out. However different the situation than what we face today, what can we learn from Him sending them out that reveals how this was part of their training?
Jesus had taught the disciples “in the classroom,” so to speak. He had also taken them out into the field where they learned by observing what He did. Then after Jesus had equipped them with power to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons (vs. 8), He sent them out without Him. But notice the amount of instruction He gave as He sent them out. Jesus instructed them about what to preach, what miracles to perform, what not to take with them, with whom to lodge, and when to leave an unfruitful field of labor. We can safely assume that they received other instructions, as well. Only through this interaction with people would many important lessons be learned. This passage shows on-the-job training at its best. They couldn’t minister to those with whom they didn’t come into contact; this is a point we must never forget.
Read Luke 10:1–11. What similarities are there between the instructions Jesus gave to the 12 and to the 70? Again, what principles can we learn for ourselves from His instructions?
Although initially Jesus sent the seventy into places where He intended to shortly go Himself (vs. 1), He knew what the disciples and other missionaries would encounter as they attempted to spread the gospel after His ascension when they were on their own. The instructions given to the seventy disciples as they were sent out indicates that Jesus was preparing them for what lay ahead.
How many excuses do you manage to find to not witness for your faith when the opportunity arises? What’s your usual one?