Matthew 10:1-16 (NKJV)
1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 “Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, 10 “nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. 11 “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. 12 “And when you go into a household, greet it. 13 “If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 “Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city! 16 ” Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
See what happens when a person asks the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest! Sometimes the one who prays becomes the answer to his own prayers.
That was the case for the twelve apostles. Out of the multitudes of disciples who followed Jesus, learned from Jesus, and believed in Jesus, He chose some—only some—to be apostles, “sent ones.” These were the ones who were to go out and preach His Gospel. In this first sending, they were not to go into all the world. They were to go “first to the Jew” (cf. Rom. 1:16). Such was the privilege of being of that race. They had been entrusted with the very words of God. They were the recipients of His promises of the coming Christ, the invited guests to the marriage feast. Therefore, they were to be the first to hear the call to the feast, “All things are ready! Come to the wedding!” (Matt. 22:4).
In the words of today’s reading, Jesus establishes a precept that remains in place for those whom He sends to preach: “A worker is worthy of his food” (Matt. 16:10, cf. 1 Cor. 9:3-14). His preachers have a right to receive a decent wage from those to whom they preach, and their hearers have an obligation to give it. Some, like the Apostle Paul, would not use this right, but all have it alike. Even more importantly, those who hear the Word of Christ from His messengers have the obligation to receive it, to believe it, and to obey it.
Let us pray: O Lord, we thank You for giving some to be ministers of Your Gospel among us. Help us never to despise this gift, but to use it, and to support those whom You send. Amen.