photo from Andrew Itaga
11:13. I’m sitting in my grandma’s kitchen, in a little corner at a table with a beautiful Christmas tablecloth and my dorm room tree in the center of it. The snow is waltzing circles out the window, Josh Garrels is making merry on Spotify, and Grandma is chopping potatoes for lunch.
This morning I read chapter 10 of Matthew, all about Jesus sending His disciples out into the world for short term missions to the lost sheep of Israel. I feel that this passage is sort of timely as tomorrow at one in the afternoon I will be leaving for the airport to travel across the world on a two week short term mission.
Chapter 10 is full of Jesus’ wise words to His disciples and there’s a lot that we can learn from them. I want to focus on a few key verses and dissect what I thought this morning as I read them:
“’As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give’” (7-8).
Freely have we received the grace, love, mercy, hope, forgiveness of God through Christ Jesus. Freely are we to give all that we can without holding back due to our selfish tendencies. We are more self-centered than we think—if often rules our decisions. How can we profess Christ if we do not live surrendered to Him?
“’At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you’” (19-20).
Evangelizing can be a scary thought. Talking to new people can be a scary thought (especially for this introvert. I love people, but it takes me a while to get used to them.) There will be people we will meet who will be hurting and broken and questioning God. There will be children we meet who have and are growing up without parents and don’t understand why. There will be struggles each of us will have to pass through. But God will give us the words appropriate for these situations.
“’So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows’” (26-31).
Wow. Powerful message here. As a fearful person still struggling with a bit of anxiety on going to Kenya, I needed to read this. Do not be afraid. Do not fear. Fear God, hang on to Him, because He is all I have—the only fortress and rock of my soul. He knows how many hairs are on my head and each one belongs to Him. Live in reckless abandon to Him (meaning obey completely with the wisdom He gives). Shout it from the rooftops. Speak it, live it. Do not be afraid.
“’Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me’” (37-38).
This is hard to hear. I love my parents dearly. I have been blessed to have them as my parents. They counsel me, they pray for and with me, they laugh with me, they listen to me, they support me, they love me. I could not ask for better parents. But my loyalty to them, my love for them, and my missing them very much cannot sever the call that God has placed on me. I must be obedient even if it means missing Christmas with them for the first time in nineteen years and only getting to spend eight days with them after I get back. I must be obedient even if it means not getting to be with them and hug them and spend time with them. I must be obedient to Christ because He is the source. And the amazing thing is my parents understand this and are obedient to God by letting me be obedient and supporting me. Our loyalty to Christ is the one that must come through in everything.
All of these verses speak one thing to me: Go forth and proclaim in the power God has placed on you, live and speak fearlessly and with abandon, and answer to the One who is the life source, keeper, and judge of all creation.