RCL C Proper 9 Complementary
Isaiah 66:1-8, Psalm 66:1-8, Galatians 6:1-16, Saint Luke 10:1-11 and 16-20

“Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”[1]

Those words from the Gospel today often were the Offertory Sentence in the parish where I was ordained a deacon. Over the years, I’ve pondered them. They communicate a world very different from the way we perceive ours. They tell of a world whose supply is greater than the demand. The harvest is plentiful, you see. It is as plentiful as the Lord is almighty. We only need laborers to harvest the plenty. The scarcity is in the laborers and, perhaps, in the laborers’ expectations.

More often than not, we start our theological thinking with scarcity—we have so little money, so little time, and so little possibility. And there’s our mistake, and there’s the preachment in the Gospel.

We need to remember that we handle and serve as stewards of things not our own. We handle God’s things. And God’s supply is more than we can easily handle.

And, further, because our perspective begins with demand and scarcity, and not with supply and plenty, we have low expectations of God. That is even a graver mistake. Our conversation with God is to expect God to be God: to provide plenty and to produce supply. The scriptures testify to God’s generosity all the time. Think of the effort we have to make to resist the idea that God is generous. The world is bending in that direction, I know. Our eyes look downward not upward.

The great success of the seventy in the Gospel today counterbalances all that. Take their success to heart. Expect God to be God in your life. Give God your life, and God will return it to you a hundred fold. Give God the benefit of your doubt, and God will give you faith. Give God your fear, and God will give you confidence. Give God your scarcity, and God will give you more than you can handle. “Come now and see the works of God, * how wonderful he is in his doing toward all people.”[2]

[1] Saint Luke 10:2b.

[2] Psalm 66:4.