Early in my ministry I was asked to conduct a prayer time one evening a week at our church. That first gathering I felt rather self-important – people were relying on me for spiritual guidance, relying on my prayer and ability to interpret the Bible. Then, as we prayed for a woman facing surgery, an older, unassuming lady came forward and began speaking in tongues as she laid hands on the woman in need.
I could feel the hairs on my arms standing on end as I stood, dumbstruck, in the presence of the Holy Spirit. One far greater than me was there to intercede for the one in need.
In this passage from Luke, Jesus has sent out seventy-two followers to be in ministry in the surrounding areas. He sent them out with the instruction that they take nothing with them. Upon their return they are jubilant.
What information do they share on their return? How does Jesus celebrate with them (verse 18)? Who has given them the power to do what they have done? What should cause rejoicing?
These seventy-two were sent into ministry with nothing. They had to rely entirely on God and His powers. Serving God, and with the authority given by Christ, they were able to help other people, even having the ability to make demons submit to them.
No wonder they were excited when they returned. But Jesus put their success in perspective. Their successes were not meant to make them look good. The work they did was meant to help others and to glorify God.
When we dare to take the snake by the tail and do something risky or challenging for God, we can fall into the false security that we accomplished something under our own power. What we must remember is that when we trust God to help us in these challenging ministries we must also acknowledge God in our celebrations.
We are also to remember why we did what we did. We did not take the snake by the tail to show everyone what great people we are, but we dared to risk so that we might be a benefit and blessing to the kingdom of God.
Proverbs 3:5 tells us not to trust in ourselves, but to rely on God. Then in verse 6 we are reminded that we should acknowledge God in all our ways.
DAILY CHALLENGE: Is there a victory in your life that needs to credited to God?