A few insights from today's reading....
First - the issue here is not being sent, or whether or not we are sent. The issue is realizing that we are sent right now. Where ever we are, God has placed us there on a mission. All the baptized have received that same mission from God and are sent, whatever their vocation may be. What we do as sent people always flows from a realization of who we are. We are God's people. We are justified and forgiven people, united to him in Word and Sacrament, and having such gifts, we are sent. Do you see a difference here? So often we hear, "You need to tell people about Jesus!" Yes... but never as a burdensome task. This is simply part of who we are as sent people. A life that gives witness to Jesus is a life that has experienced the Gospel in all its goodness, not a thing to check off our list of spiritual deeds.
Second - What are some of the fears you might have about living as a sent person? I'm a fairly introverted person. I enjoy my quiet and space. I don't like that to be messed with. I also don't like akward situations (but then again, who does?). I have a feeling that the more I live out my "sentness," the more I may have to bend in those areas. But then again, we must remember that God has created all of us with different personalities, and none of us live out our "sentness" in the same exact way. However, I do know that my comfort zone needs to be messed with from time to time.
Third - What is your comfort zone? Where do you feel the safest? For many of us, church is our comfort zone. And of course, that's a good thing. We need to gather at church to be refreshed by the presence of Jesus in Word and Sacrament. But what about the other six days of the week? One of the most meaningful sermons I've ever heard described the typical habit of Christians in the following analogy.
Have you ever seen one of those old Western movies, where the cowboys all hide out in a fort in the middle of the desert? Every once in awhile they leave to go get supplies or have a gun fight. But for the most part they stay inside the fort. Everything is safe there. It's dangerous out there in the wilderness - out among the teepees. This is the habit we often develop within the church. The world is a dangerous place! And so we spend as much time as we can within the fort - spending time with people that look, act, and believe like us. We even have our own music, movies, book stores, and radio stations. We live out among the "teepees" (or the world) as a necessity, and hope that maybe they will join us. But remember that Jesus said to his disciples GO, not STAY (Matthew 28:19). And so as the church we are called to go out from the comfort of our fort and live among the teepees. This is what Jesus did (Luke 15!!!) and this is what we do also.