Pastoral Commentary for Matthew 10
Author: Pastor Zach
The famous news commentator Charles Osgood, host of "CBS Sunday Morning" on television and "The Osgood File" on radio, penned this "Poem on Responsibility":
There was a most important job that needed to be done, And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none. But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask, Is who exactly will it be who'll carry out the task?
Anybody could have told you that everybody knew, That this was something somebody would surely have to do. Nobody was unwilling; anybody had the ability. But nobody believed that it was their responsibility.
It seemed to be a job that anybody could have done, If anybody thought he was supposed to be the one. But since everybody recognized that anybody could, Everybody took for granted that somebody would.
But nobody told anybody that we are aware of, That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of. And nobody took it on himself to follow through, And do what everybody thought that somebody would do.
When what everybody needed so did not get done at all, Everybody was complaining that somebody dropped the ball. Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame, And everybody looked around for somebody to blame.
Somebody should have done the job, And Everybody should have, But in the end Nobody did, What Anybody could have.
Maybe this has happened to you too. There is a job to be done. And everybody agrees that somebody should do it. But in the end, the job gets left undone because nobody steps up to the plate.
I can remember, as a teenager, how my father would divvy up a list of chores between my two siblings and me. One would wash the dishes, another would vacuum the living room, and still another would clean the bathroom. One evening, however, my father decided to let us divvy up the chores amongst ourselves. "You decide who's going to what," he told us. So we did. We all decided that none of us wanted to do any of it. And the chores didn't get done. My father never tried that again.
At the end of Matthew 9, Jesus says to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" (Matthew 9:37-38). Jesus is here employing an agricultural metaphor to push an evangelistic imperative. "There is a great harvest of people," Jesus says, "on the cusp of being converted to the Kingdom of God. All they need is for someone to tell them about me. So pray for people to go to them and tell them about me."
I can almost imagine the disciples' reaction: "Will do, Jesus! We'll be praying away! We're sure someone will answer the call to share the gospel. In fact, we might even donate some money to a mission society to help out in the cause. Can you recommend a good one, Jesus?" This is Jesus' response: "He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: 'As you go, preach this message: The kingdom of heaven is near'" (Matthew 10:1,5,7).
Jesus ends Matthew 9 by praying that the Lord would send someone to preach the gospel. At the beginning of chapter 10, we learn that that "someone" is the disciples themselves.
When it comes to sharing the gospel with others, many of us, at least tacitly, live with this attitude: "Someone will do it." We, like Jesus, may pray that God would send out missionaries, those brave souls who professionally preach the gospel in far away lands, but sadly, too many of us read the end of the Matthew 9 without also reading the beginning of Matthew 10. Because the beginning of Matthew 10 is the answer to Jesus' prayer at the end of Matthew 9. God does indeed have "someone" in mind to share his gospel. And that "someone" is you.
Will you answer the call of God to be his "someone"? It doesn't have to be complicated, you know. It can be as simple as a prayer for a sick friend, a note of encouragement to a distressed coworker, or a helping hand to someone down and out. The chances to share your faith are legion. So, will you be the "someone" who shares your faith today? I sure do hope so. For someone needs to hear what you, as God's "someone," have been called to share.