I learned how to pack my own clothes as a child. Our family took several trips a year and so I learned about the things that needed to go in my suitcase to make my trip flow much easier. I knew I needed to pack play clothes and dress clothes and a few extra outfits just in case anything happened or plans changed while we were away. I needed to pack shoes and toiletries, underclothes and jewelry, purses and a jacket. I also needed to pack anything related to our specific destination that I anticipated would be helpful during my stay. I cannot tell you how many suitcases I have packed and over-packed during my lifetime!
So, when Jesus basically tells the disciples in Matthew 10 to go but leave your suitcases behind, do not take any personal items with you, and go to a place where lodging is not guaranteed, well, frankly, that makes me a little uncomfortable. Check out the verses for yourself!
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. [Matthew 10:9-15]
I can tell you that this just does NOT seem to be the kind of travel arrangements that would make anyone comfortable! No Luggage, No Reservations, JUST GO!!! And wherever you are NOT welcomed, "SHAKE THE DUST OFF YOUR FEET" and keep it moving!
My Friends, what are we to learn from this passage of scripture? As a disciple of Jesus Christ, what is the take away from this 'No Luggage, No Reservations, JUST GO kind of mission?
Well, let me try to explain. I think that Jesus is basically telling disciples then and now, when I tell you to go to the places I send you to:
DO NOT GO WEIGHED DOWN
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.
In other words, friends, anything that is not completely necessary for your life's mission, LET IT GO! We carry way too much baggage around from our past that hinders our present and delays the future effectiveness we can have in promoting the Gospel! It is time to let go of toxic people, romantic hurts, conversational offenses, materialistic ambitions, shallow dreams, twisted plots, old grudges, and negative attitudes. All of these things and many others like them are weighing you down and keeping you from being FREE to pursue God's purpose for your life. People cannot force you to carry what you are choosing to hold on to so that you can constantly be reminded of what did not work, what made you mad, and what hurt your feelings. LET IT GO! Let it go, unpack that bag, take it out to the dumpster, and do not let that stuff weigh you down. BE HEALED and SET FREE so you can MOVE ON, Move forward, move out, and move up!!!
DO NOT GO TIED DOWN
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...
BlogFam, I know that you "like" where you are or maybe you have simply just gotten used to it because you are really scared to leave. For when you do actually leave, you will have to TRUST GOD and in your state of comfort, complacency, and carelessness, you have grown to like doing what is EASY. But what is easy is not always what is the KINGDOM thing to do! When you commit your life to Christ, you commit your life to not being tied down to any one particular place longer than your assigned time in that place. You also commit to Christ knowing that everywhere you go, people will not welcome your presence or your message. We cannot get tied down to the point where we never remain OPEN to the ways God wants to lead us and use us beyond where we currently reside and serve. As long as you find peace, then rest there. But the moment you are not welcomed and you are being ignored, leave. GO WITH GOD and do not prolong your stay! This world is not our home and the only permanent reservations we have as disciples of Jesus Christ are the reservations we have with God in eternity.
DO NOT GO AND HAVE AN EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWN
14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.
I have to tell you that I have cried many tears in my life for many different reasons. I have cried the common tears of joy and tears of sorrow. I have also cried tears for love lost and love gained. And as it relates to this verse, I have cried tears of welcome and tears of good byes. I do not think that we should totally dismiss the emotional responses that we have to life's transitions; but, we cannot get stuck on the triggers to those responses at times of transition. When it is time to leave, SHAKE THE DUST OFF YOUR FEET and move on to your next divine destination!
Living as a disciple of Jesus Christ necessarily means that people will reject you and dismiss you and cuss you out and roll their eyes at you and leave you hanging and break up with you and walk away from you. I appreciate that Jesus does not paint this pretty picture of everyone loving the disciples just because they entered the room, the home, the town, or the church. We all need to be very clear that when you are preaching, singing, teaching, serving, volunteering, and doing anything positive to show the love and grace of God, everyone will not jump on your bandwagon. You need to know this. You need to know that Jesus knew this. You need to know that Jesus told his disciples this for a reason so that they/we could be prepared IN ADVANCE to be turned away and denied a pulpit to speak in, a bed to sleep in, and even family and friends to confide in. And because we know this IN ADVANCE, we also know that the good Lord has already made provisions for us IN ADVANCE so that we can SHAKE THE DUST OFF OUR FEET and know that our latter reign will be greater than our former pain!
JUST GO AND LAY THE TRUTH DOWN
7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’
Lastly, we have to take it back a few verses in order to keep our focus and our message clear. We cannot focus on what we have to leave behind or the places we cannot go or the emotional roller coaster we might have just experienced. We must keep our eyes on JESUS. Our message must be centered around JESUS. Our ears must be kept in tune with JESUS. Our Savior told them to proclaim ONE sermon. "The Kingdom of heaven has come near."
Jesus tells them to, JUST GO and LAY THE TRUTH DOWN! The acceptance or the rejection of this message is not the disciples responsibility. The disciples only have to speak it and let God deal with the rest. When we start adding to the Gospel or taking away from it or keeping our mouths closed about it because we are weighed down, tied down, or just had an emotional breakdown, our ministry gets twisted. But if we just GO AND LAY THE TRUTH DOWN - The Kingdom of heaven has come near! Then, we can encourage ourselves through the HOPE of the message we share and the one who gave us the message in the first place!
BlogFam, on today, I pray that you would have a WONDERFUL day and that you would surrender to the Lord all the things that have you weighed down. I pray that you would ask the Lord for the courage to leave all the places that have you tied down. I pray that you would ask for healing from your emotional breakdown. And I pray that from this day forward, you would JUST GO and LAY THE TRUTH DOWN!!!
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!!!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!
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