He called the twelve disciples together and sent them out two by two. He gave them authority over the evil spirits and ordered them, ‘Don’t take anything with you on the trip except a walking stick – no bread, no beggar’s bag, no money in your pockets. Wear sandals, but don’t carry a spare shirt.’ He also told them, ‘Wherever you are welcomed, stay in the same house until you leave that place. If you come to a town where people do not welcome you or will not listen to you, leave it and shake the dust off your feet. That will be a warning to them!’ (verses 7-11)
Read Mark 6: 1-13
No excess baggage for Jesus’ disciples on this mission, in fact no baggage at all – only a walking-stick. What a contrast with our way of life! Those of us who have moved house, quickly realise the excess of our possessions.
Jesus’ disciples were on a mission. They had an urgent message to share. They were on a healing, helping mission. They needed to be free and flexible, able to respond without being tied to homes or possessions.
This story contrasts starkly our way and the way of Jesus’ disciples. We are made to realise that an important reason why we often fail in bringing Christ to others is our excess baggage and our ties to our possessions.
These disciples had other, unseen possessions. They had Jesus’ authority, his name, his love, his Spirit, his word, his promises, his forgiveness. We have them too.
Father, give us eyes to see the need of those around us. Help us to trust Jesus’ word and promises so that we can be of help to others. Amen.
by Bob Turnbull, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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