In Luke 10, Jesus sends out 70 disciples into the surrounding community. I have been thinking about this story a lot, and will be preaching on it tonight. Here's where I am right now:
I think we can learn a few things about being disciples today from these 70 disciples of long ago.
First - their message wasn't "Jesus died for you," because Jesus hadn't died yet. There message was "Peace be with you" and "God is here." Maybe we shouldn't minimize the Gospel to "Jesus died for you so now what are you going to do for him" as much as just offer people peace and point out that God is all around us.
Second - they did not condemn the people who didn't listen to them, they left that to God and moved on. In verse 12, Jesus condemns the towns that do not receive the disciples, but the disciples themselves do not. Maybe we, as disciples, ought not to waste our time condemning others for not receiving the message and just move on to someone else who will. We can do so if we hold to a healthy doctrine of prevenient grace, I think.
Third - Jesus told them not to break their arms patting themselves on the back, but to rejoice that their "names are written in heaven." In other words, find joy in God, in doing God's work. Maybe we spend too much time assessing and evaluating and examining ourselves to figure out if we are doing a good job, and not enough time just doing it. (Like I wrote in this post.) Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living, but I think that an unlived life is not really worth examining.
An example on that third point:
The "assessment mentality" leads a church to ask questions like, How are we going to have enough money to do all we want to do? A better question might be, How are we going to do what God wants us to do with the resources we have been given?
No purse, no bag, no extra pair of shoes, even. "Like lambs among wolves."