Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘ Peace be to this house! ’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house.
Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you. ’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘ Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near. ’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. Luke 10:4-12
We last looked at the provision side of verse four. We looked at how, if God has called and sent you then He will also provide for you. Today I wanted to briefly look at the command, “greet no one on the road.”
You see, when people were travelling in Jesus time a journey could be a very social event. If you saw someone you would greet them. Perhaps you knew them, perhaps not, but you could end up in quite a conversation with them. Food would come out, resting, a full visit. It could take a long time to go a short way.
Jesus isn’t against us socialising. He isn’t against friendliness and generally doing life with other people. There are so many verses in the Bible where we see a calling to relationship. However, when He sent His disciples they were sent for a purpose. To proclaim the Gospel.
When God calls you out and sends you He is your sender. There is little helpful purpose when you stop and chat to your friends or family and they question, delay, or alter the plans that God has for you. The time for discussion is the time for discussion. When you receive a call, a purpose, a life defining sending, that is not the time for discussion. That is the time to go!
Oh how many of us have been dissuaded from the things of God by the persuasion of man?
So, when we are on the mission of God in our lives, how do we fulfil it. The next part of this scripture passage gives us some ideas. We go where they are ready for us. In a few cases God may call someone to go to a most inhospitable place, to face danger and risk death at every turn. But most of us? We are called to our friends, neighbours, colleagues and family.
Maybe our church has a local outreach or for the brave, a mission trip in a new area or even foreign country. But in all these things God has gone before us. His Spirit is calling, wooing and softening people’s hearts. Even our most adventurous and extreme friends, when they arrive in the deepest darkest places, if God has sent them, seem to find friends.
How often do we read the stories how, against all odds, a meeting happens, a friendship starts, the gospel flourishes? Wherever we go the Holy Spirit has already been before us. We are not trying to crowbar the truth into peoples’ lives. We are simply trying to highlight that the longing, that need, that inexplainable feeling is the voice of God calling them home.
When we meet this person we are to say, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” That person who needs prayer, the one who needs comfort, if they are ready they will respond to you. If they are not, Jesus tells us to simply move on. It is not us that they are rejecting it is the message.
So often we seem to think that we are in the firing line. We are not. It is the Gospel that we are sharing, it is the gospel that they either receive or refuse, we are simply the messenger. Have you ever told a friend about a new restaurant only to have them say they are not interested/have heard bad reviews/have tried it and didn’t like it?
Did you go home a failure, wishing to hide, regretting opening your mouth, declaring, “never will I talk about a restaurant again”? No, of course not. Why? It isn’t your restaurant. You were just saying what you had heard. Expressing your experience. You were the messenger. They weren’t interested, move on!
So it is with the gospel. Yes the message is more important, but our role is the same. Tell them, offer to pray, to declare healing, to help them in Jesus Name and then ask God to work the miracle. If they don’t receive move on. You have done your part in declaring the Gospel.
Ask God where to go, who to talk to. Remember the harvest is plentiful it is just the workers who are few.
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