During Jesus’ ministry, he sent out seventy disciples to prepare the way for Him. Luke 10:1-2 “After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’” The potential harvest indeed is great for those who would obey the gospel. But there are few laborers to bring them in.
Of all His disciples, He then chose twelve. Luke 6:13-16 “And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.” These twelve, Jesus named as apostles. The word apostle means “sent”. To these twelve (less Judas), He gave the great commission and sent them to the world. Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”
During His ministry, Jesus concentrated on the twelve apostles and taught them the things he wanted them to learn and teach the world. However, there were times when He went with just Peter, James, and John. These three went with Him upon the mountain of transfiguration (Matthew 17:1), when He healed the synagogue ruler’s daughter (Luke 8:51), and when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:33). It appears that He concentrated His special training upon these three.
Jesus taught His message to a select few men who were then instructed to pass the message on to others. The apostle Paul used this same method in spreading the gospel. We know he trained Timothy and Titus; we have Paul’s instruction to these two in his letters to them that we call the Bible books of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus. Perhaps there were others that Paul trained. He wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” This seems to be the example for us – to train a few who in turn will be able to train others. I encourage you to find those in your life whom you can train who will pass the word on to those who follow them.
The family is one good place to put this plan to work. Ephesians 6:4 “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Some parents take the position that they don’t want to pass their faith on to their children but they want their children to develop their own faith; I think this is a foolish path for parents to take. It is contrary to what the scriptures teach. The fathers are given the responsibility to bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord. Mothers are also very instrumental in the spiritual training of the children. In my personal situation, I had godly parents who trained me. But my grandmother was especially instrumental in my early spiritual training. There was a time in my childhood where I had a special time every day with my grandmother for spiritual training. Hopefully my story can serve as an encouragement to you as a parent or grandparent to guide your children in the training and admonition of the Lord. In time, your children can pass the word on to their children or others that they know.
The local church should provide training for those who in time will pass it on to others. Some congregations have one man who does the majority of the speaking and serving. I believe it is God’s plan that multiple men participate in the edification of the church. 1 Corinthians 14:31 “For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.” In our congregation, we had an elder who made it his mission to train the youth of the congregation. The boys received training in public speaking, music and song leading. As a result of those efforts of the past, today we have a good group of men who provide excellent edification of the congregation through public speaking and song. These, in turn, now provide training to the youth of the congregation.
You can also share the gospel with a friend or acquaintance. When the early church faced persecution, they scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. Acts 8:4 “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.” There are likely many of your neighbors who do not know the word. You can share with them and when they are converted, they can share with others what they know.
The laborers in God’s vineyard are few. My encouragement to you is to find opportunities to pass your faith and spiritual knowledge on to others. Instruct faithful individuals who will be able to teach others also.