June 16, 2016
9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
In order to keep our bearings, let’s be reminded that we are in the midst of the second of five teaching segments given by Jesus to his disciples. The first teaching was the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). You will remember Jesus taught them the following:
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:31-34
In this second discourse, Jesus is bringing particular application of these instructions as it relates to this missionary assignment he is giving his disciples. This is an exceedingly challenging and even discomforting set of instructions. Take no money. Take no bag with extra clothes. Take no staff. No extra sandals.
Imagine you are about to go on a two week mission trip to another country. You receive an email from the trip leader that says the following, “You do not need to bring anything with you on this trip but yourself (no extra clothes, shoes, cell phone, money, snacks, flashlight, sleeping bag, etc.). Further, we will not be providing “all that” in lieu of your not bringing it. We are going to trust God to supply everything we need.” I don’t know about you, but my idea of camping and “roughing it” is The Hampton Inn. ;0) I honestly can’t imagine this.
According to my “Be Prepared” Boy Scout motto logic, a person on a mission like this would not want to be distracted by having to worry about what they would wear or eat or where they would stay kinds of challenges. I would want to take care of all of this well in advance of the trip so I could give my full attention to the purposes for which I am going. Makes sense doesn’t it?
Jesus seems to say the exact opposite. Imagine that. It’s like he’s saying that the only way you will be completely focused on the mission is to be completely dependent on me and the only way to be completely dependent on me is to not depend on your own provisions. He is asking us to depend entirely, almost in a minute by minute way, to him.
Honestly, I’m not ready for this. I don’t like it and I’m probably not going to take my discipleship to this level of dependence. How about you? Now I have to ask myself these questions, “Why am I not ready for this? Why won’t I take discipleship to this level of dependence?”
It’s not so much that Jesus is telling us to be unprepared as he’s calling us to be prepared in an entirely different way.
1. What is the way Jesus calls us to be prepared? How would we grow in that? What is a step we might take in that direction?
2. Our problem with being unprepared (in the way we think about being prepared) is it causes us anxiety and worry. Could this way of living be intended to expose our anxiety and worry and lead us into a more true way of trust?
3. Can you think of a situation in which you really depended on God to provide for your needs? Have you seen another person do this? How did that go?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.