Ordinary People Doing God’s Work
Matt. 9:9-13; 35-10: 1
The Calling of Matthew
9 As Jesus went on from there,
he saw a man named Matthew
sitting at the tax collector’s booth.
“Follow me,” he told him,
and Matthew got up and followed him.
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house,
many tax collectors and “sinners” came
and ate with him and his disciples.
11 When the Pharisees saw this,
they asked his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat
with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
12 On hearing this, Jesus said,
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor,
but the sick.
13 But go and learn what this means:
‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’
For I have not come to call the righteous,
The Workers Are Few
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
preaching the good news of the kingdom
and healing every disease and sickness.
36 When he saw the crowds,
he had compassion on them,
because they were harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a shepherd.
37 Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is plentiful
but the workers are few.
38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore,
to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him
and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits
and to heal every disease and sickness.
I’m reminded of a story that I read.
A man was getting frustrated
when he was trying to fix his riding lawnmower,
because he didn’t have the right tools.
A neighbor who was watching him,
came over with a well-stocked toolbox
and offered his help to fix the mower.
After a short while the lawnmower
was working better than before.
In amazement the man said to his neighbor:
“You have some impressive tools in your box!
What do you make with all those tools?”
And the neighbor replied with a smile:
It’s amazing what a good set of tools can do
in the hands of one who knows how to use them.
Now, before you jump to conclusions,
I’m not suggesting that we
at the Springfield Heights Mennonite Church
have all the sharpest tools in the box
to fix the worlds problems.
However, as followers of Jesus Christ
we as a church are part of the our Master’s tool box
to bring hope and healing into a broken world.
When we are moved by compassion
for the needs of those around us
God promises to do great things
in the lives of people.
In our Scripture text we read
that Jesus was moved by compassion for the crowd
and he called twelve persons
to be his disciples.
Now, our reference check on these twelve men
reveals that these fellows were nothing to look at.
And these are exactly the people that Jesus called
to follow him and to do great things for God.
When Jesus picked his twelve disciples
and sent them out to preach
the Good News of God’s favor,
to cast out demons
and to heal the sick,
he did not loose any sleep over their qualifications.
One might think that the Gospel writer, Matthew,
would have mentioned that Jesus chose these men
because of their prior experience,
or because of their great potential
or their unusual spiritual insight.
But we are told none of that.
We are simply told the names of the twelve
that were called to follow him.
It seems to me that this story says more
about the nature of Jesus
than it says about the qualifications
of his followers.
It is just the way Jesus does these things.
Jesus calls fishers (4:18-22)…
He calls tax collectors (9:9)…
He calls subsistance-farmers…
He calls cabinet makers…
and factory workers…
He calls accountants and lawyers…
He calls students
with two or three part-time jobs…
He calls mothers and fathers…
He calls teachers and Seniors…
And there is no hint
that these people need any special attributes
that qualify them to be disciples.
Not only was Matthew a disgraceful tax collector,
but there is also Judas
who would betray him.
It is almost as if the gospel bends over backwards
to assure us that none of these people
were special in any way.
And yet, they were called to transform the world
through the power of God’s forgiving Love.
Jesus sent them out to do the very same things
he had been doing in the world.
The mission of Jesus is a tough and risky mission.
Jesus chose everyday,
Rough, tough, real, ordinary people
because the task he sent them out to perform
was so extraordinary.
As I look over the congregation,
I am looking at the same group of people
with the same qualifications
(or lack of qualifications)
of the disciples.
When we look at our backgrounds
and our qualifications,
who among us is really suited to do God’s work?
Who among us is qualified
to heal a broken world in Jesus' name?
Certainly not me!
We may not be qualified,
but by God's grace,
we have the authority to be his disciples.
Jesus sees more potential in us
than we see in ourselves.
Jesus helps us to see that the needs in the world
require some people
who have some worldly wisdom.
He can take the experiences
that we have had at work,
or at school,
or at raising a family,
and use those experiences to help others.
I know some of your stories,
And the passion that many of you have
For ministry in this congregation
I heard of a woman who was called to be a disciple.
She had spent most of her life raising a family.
One day she looked up and her family was gone.
There was no longer anybody there
who needed her.
She had all but lost the meaning for her life.
So she presented herself at her church,
asking to be given something to do.
She said to the Pastor,
"Unfortunately, I haven't had
any real work experience.
I'm afraid there is not much
that I could be useful for in the church."
She was wrong.
As a mother of four children,
she had wonderful organizational skills.
Those skills were used to organize the church's
first Habitat for Humanity work team.
She was good at organizing people,
getting people to make commitments,
and following up on their commitments.
These skills, learned as a mother,
proved to be very useful to the church
in its business of doing God’s work.
From what I observe,
this is usually the way that Jesus works.
Jesus seems to delight in taking ordinary,
people who do not seem to have
all of the qualifications and credentials,
and selecting them to do God’s work.
He promises us that he will give us what we need
to be faithful to him and his mission.
And then he sends us out into the world
with the mission of bringing a word of salvation
to a hurting world
and bringing healing for a broken people.
Jesus calls you and me today to be his disciples,
even though we may have
and even though we have our own crosses to bear.
We may be limited by our lack of courage,
our lack of talent,
our lack of spiritual insight.
We may think that we don’t have the tools needed
to fix our broken world.
And yet, we have the promise of God’s presence
and the authority to be instruments of God’s Love
and mercy in our own community.
God wants each one of us to be part
of His work in the world.
How are you going to respond to God’s invitation?
Let us Pray
Lord, there are times when we wonder
why you chose people like us to be your disciples.
We have our limitations
(as if we need to remind you)!
So often we do not understand your desire for us;
our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak.
Our intentions are good
but we fail to follow through.
Yet, you have entrusted us with the message
of the love and Mercy of God;
to us has been given the great treasure
of the Good News.
Lord, let us hear your call
to be your servants in a world that is hurting. Help us to be a friend to a person in need.
Even though we may not have all the tools
to fix every problem,
we trust in your unfailing love and compassion.
Strengthen our faith
and make us fit to serve you
and our neighbors.
Worship Service – Friendship Sunday
June 13, 1999
Gathering in God’s Presence
Welcome & Call to Worship Henry Kliewer
We’re singing Praises
Offering & Hymn
Meditating on God’s Word
Children’s Story Susanne Pankratz
Scripture Reading Werny Unrau
Sermon: “Ordinary People Doing God’s Work”
Guided Prayer Henry Kliewer
Cry of My Heart
Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow
Welcome To our Worship Service This Morning!
Friendship Sunday - Afternoon Program
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM BBQ Lunch
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM Clownface Jumper 1:30 PM Face Painting
1:30 PM Clown & Balloon Animals 1:30 PM Music Group
1:30 PM - 4:00 PM Volleyball, Soccer & Childrens’ games
at Princess Margaret School