The word “to”, while a simple preposition, is a substantial part to our mission. “To” implies direction.
In Luke 10:2 [These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.] the word “to” is mentioned multiple times, all of which are critical.
The first “to” is in the very first phrase “These were his instructions to them”. To figure out who ‘them’ is, we look back to the end of chapter 9 and beginning of 10. In the end of chapter 9, Jesus discusses the cost of discipleship. He lays out that to be a disciple you are accepting that nothing else is important and that following Him is your full attention. Jesus stresses this by telling them of how they won’t have a home and states how they cannot bury their dead or say goodbye to their family. After all of this, chapter 10 opens with the Lord appointing 72 disciples. This catches my attention immediately. After all Jesus says and challenges them with, 72 stay and follow. Wow. Anyways, Jesus commands these 72 to go out in pairs ahead of Him. Then comes “These were his instructions to them.” The instructions were directed toward those that understood the cost of discipleship, those who knew what truly mattered, those who left everything they knew and simply followed.
Jesus tells the disciples “pray to the Lord…” Honestly, this phrase doesn’t usually stand out. It is normal for this to come out of Jesus’ mouth, but within this simple command is also truth and reassurance. As I mentioned earlier, “to” implies direction and movement. While the word here doesn’t seem important, it is a reminder that our prayers are not stagnant – that there is movement and direction. Our prayers to Him are never in vain.
The final “to” in this verse is coupled with the word “in” – “ask him to send more workers into his fields.” “Into” means to act out movement resulting with being enclosed or surrounded. As I’ve heard it put once, ” You can only see light in darkness,” so naturally it does no good do mission work in a place where everyone already follows Christ. In order for us to obey this command, we go out among the darkness. We move to a place where we are surrounded, because there His work is more than evident and irrefutable.
We believe that we are among these workers and that we have been sent. We honor and obey Him, acting out the “to” by going. But I believe this cycle, stated in this passage, is constantly reoccurring. Let me explain. The way discipleship works is as someone disciples you, you disciple another, that person disciples another, and so on. So we must look at ourselves through both perspectives. We are the among the workers mentioned in the latter half of this verse, but we are also among the “them” being given direction in the beginning.
While looking through this lens, the command “ask” jumps out. This verse is spoken by Jesus to the disciples before they left to go to the other cities. So before we leave and go ahead, before we are told to talk to people, to teach, or to build relationships, we are told to ask. As it says in 1 Corinthians 3, only God can provide growth. It is pointless to go about anything without involving Him from the very beginning. We cannot disciple anyone without Him being in the middle of it all. So our first action, no matter where we are or what we are doing, is to ask. Ask God to be present, for His blessing, that He uses us and speaks through us, and that He sends more workers into His fields as we have been sent.
And we watch Him work.