Todays Reading: Matthew 10-11
Jesus is getting ready to send out his twelve, but before He does so, He gives them instruction, guidance. First Jesus instructs them to go to the “lost sheep of Israel”. He tells them to preach a specific message: “the kingdom of heaven is near”. To heal, raise the dead, cleanse, and drive out demons, but to take nothing with them. Not money, food, extra clothing or sandals, or staff. The nights were cold and an extra tunic would be very helpful for protection and warmth if they were to sleep outdoors. Why? Why would Jesus send them out on a journey virtually unprepared? They may not have known someone in these towns to give them lodging, to give them food. What were they to do?
Everyone that knows me knows I like to be prepared, overly prepared. I like to be prepared for every possible situation, scenario. I think about those that may be with me and I like to prepare for them as well. I take comfort in being prepared, pride even. If you need something, chances are I’ll have it for you, probably in my purse. But Jesus is specifically telling His disciples to be unprepared, to rely on God’s providence. To top it off, they are to go into a town and preach: “The kingdom of heaven is near,” or as the gospels of Mark and Luke refer “the kingdom of God.” This is a radical idea as the Jews are still waiting for the Messiah and the disciples are preaching that He is already here! Again, I ask, what was Jesus thinking sending them out with this message and no material provisions? The answer is simple but extremely difficult, to rely completely and totally on Him. The blessing of the hospitality of others would be missed on them if they were “prepared.” The richness of the generosity of others, the lessons in humility, and the answers to prayers could have all been missed. How many of us are missing out on the fullness of Christ? Total reliance on Jesus is a difficult and daily task but not without the overflowing reward. “For the worker is worth his keep.” (10:10)
What is keeping you from complete dependence on Christ?
Are you so prepared that you are missing the point?
Who can you invite to church this week that needs to experience the hospitality of Christ?
Ok, put down the Bible and go do it!