2 Timothy 4:10-17B
Demas, enamored of the present world,
deserted me and went to Thessalonica,
Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
Luke is the only one with me.
Get Mark and bring him with you,
for he is helpful to me in the ministry.
I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
When you come, bring the cloak I left with Carpus in Troas,
the papyrus rolls, and especially the parchments.
Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm;
the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
You too be on guard against him,
for he has strongly resisted our preaching.
At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf,
but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them!
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.
Psalm 145: 10-13, 17-18
All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your faithful shall bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,
and tell of your power,
to make known to all people your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The Lord is faithful in all his words,
and gracious in all his deeds.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
Luke 10: 1-9
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
It’s easy to imagine St. Paul being in a place of emotional harm or distress. He had ministry mates abandon him, a blacksmith harm him, and had his comrades dessert him in his time of need. St. Paul may very well have been tired, sad, and may have struggled to continue. But the Lord gave him strength.
In the work of evangelization, we enter into the heart of Christ and therefore enter into His suffering. Sometimes that suffering comes in very physical ways like for St. Paul when he was imprisoned, shipwrecked, etc. Other times it comes in emotional pain when we long for others to know Jesus, or when we are mistreated by those who should be joining us in mission. Paul also suffered this along with Christ. Christ longed for the salvation of His people so strongly that He came to redeem us. He frequently corrected the religious officials, was betrayed, denied, and abandoned by His friends, and suffered physically. It is likely then to assume that when we seek to bring others to Jesus, that we will face parallel trials.
But entering into the suffering of Christ also means entering into His joy as well. When we do the work of evangelization, we get a front row seat to witnessing salvation! Only when we speak the truth of the gospel do we get to partake in the celebration of someone finding their way home to Christ. This is the joy that Jesus calls us to. He knows that there are trials along the way, but the cross is what gives rise to resurrection and life. Today, consider how God is calling you into His work. Know that no matter what comes your way, God will give you strength.