He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.
At first glance this is what I see:
- Go first to Israel
- Take nothing with you
- No money
- No clothes
- No food
- No staff
- No sandals
- Share the message
- Heal the sick
- Raise the dead
- Cleanse the leper
- Drive out demons
This is a passage I’ve paid little attention to or so it seems. I noted that the disciples have spent time with Jesus, listening, watching and now they were to put it into practice. Today we would call this a practicum experience. You take your courses, listen to the professors, take your exams, and do a practicum. Practice what you’ve been taught. The first item the disciples were taught was to let go of material goods and dependency on earth bound drives. Then they were given authority to spread the word, do the deeds of Jesus.
So first leave all material possessions behind. Take no money, no change of clothes, no staff for protection and assistance with walking, no sandals. It was expected they would be fed, given a place to rest, given clothes as needed, given a new staff when needed, given new sandals when needed. Their physical needs were to be met, their place of rest provided, and their transportation taken care of.
Jesus final words in this passage are: The worker is worth his keep. Do we take that charge seriously?
Questions that come to mind: How well do we keep our workers? Grumble as the plate is passed? Do we hear the charge given to the people of God to care for the workers of God? Are we willing to be His vessels to provide as He prompts? Are we able to let go of material stuff and totally rely on God to provide?
In this group where do we find ourselves? Are we given the assignment to go and share the message? Are we given the assignment to provide for those who do? How well do we carry out that assignment? Where are we on the continuum of growth? Are we still sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening. Still in the classroom? Have we learned to unload the material possessions we seem to feel we need to have? Are we learning to turn off the drive to have? Are we learning to rely totally on God’s provision? It’s hard to let go of stuff, it’s hard to let go of being strong, earning our keep, our independence…Greater things than these?…will we see them?…if we are still sitting at His feet, listening, watching, and haven’t made it to our ‘practicum’ yet?