Lord, your message is for everyone: show me how I can offer to others what I been given.


The directions Jesus gives to the Twelve in today’s gospel are very straightforward. Jesus gives His apostles some interesting instructions for their journey. “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking staff nor traveling bag; no bread, no money. The disciples would be provided for by their heavenly Father, Who knew all they needed before they could ask and Who provided everything for them. Since God was their Provider, the disciples were free to concentrate on proclaiming the good news of the Gospel.  Rather than take a change of clothes with them, food and money, Jesus tells them to leave all that behind and simply go forth unencumbered by the usual baggage. They are to go out and proclaim the kingdom of God and offer healing. That commission is extended to the whole church: the world needs to hear about the kingdom of God, needs the healing and reconciling love of God.

In obedience to His command, the disciples went out in faith to proclaim the good news and cure the sick. It’s kind of like walking a tightrope without a net; they simply go, depending on the charity of others to give them food and shelter, and provide for their needs. What does this do? It gives others the opportunity to help them in these simple but basic needs. And it gives the apostles the opportunity to receive the gift of hospitality. When God tells us to do something, it will always benefit us and perhaps others too. Let us never question God’s clear commands, but simply carry them out in obedience and faith. When we do, we — and others — can benefit as God intends.

Our central battle is one of faith. Will we or won’t we believe that God will provide for us? If we believe the Lord will personally provide for us, we won’t need to steal food and thereby provide for ourselves. Jesus asked His disciples: ” ‘When I sent you on mission without purse or traveling bag or sandals, were you in need of anything?’ ‘Not a thing,’ they replied”.

However, if we don’t believe Jesus and His promise that the Father provides our needs, we will steal or do whatever it takes to satisfy our needs. One of Jesus’ disciples, Judas, lost this battle of faith. Judas did steal to provide for his wants. In so doing, he profaned the name of his God and eventually betrayed Jesus at Gethsemane.

Does that pose a question for me who have been so blessed through the life of Jesus? Do I see the mission given the Twelve as something I have inherited with the faith? For most of us, life presents enough to cope with in day-to-day events to overshadow such thoughts. And yet the world challenges us: do you have something extra that makes life more worthwhile? Will you share it with us?

 

What kind of power and authority does God want you to exercise in your personal life and in your service of others? God’s word has power to change and transform our lives. Jesus gave His apostles both power and authority to speak and to act in His name – to cast out evil spirits, to heal, and to speak the word of God. He gave them the authority, the responsibility to “cure diseases… proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”  Jesus offered nothing beyond themselves; what He had already given them.  He offered them no healing herbs, no potions, no medical skills, no additional anything.  He sent them off with “… nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,…no second tunic.”   When Jesus spoke of power and authority He did something unheard of. He wedded power and authority with love and humility. The world and the sinful flesh seek power for selfish gain. Jesus teaches us to use it for the good of our neighbor.

This is not about the ‘what’ and the ‘where’ of the sending. It is not about success or failure. It is about the journey itself. It is about inner movement, inner change, as well as physical relocation.  It is about the relationship between me and Jesus, me and others. It is about trusting who I am in the heart of God and that what I have been given is enough for the journey.The Good News is to hold fast to the journey, shaking the dust from my feet, moving deeper into relationship and responsibility.

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