Good morning! In January, I made a commitment to begin reading the Bible every day. I’ve done so throughout the year, and it’s been an amazing experience! I like to share my thoughts on what I am reading (and learning) here on Sundays.
Today I wanted to talk about when Jesus took his 12 disciples, and told them they he was sending them out to preach the Good News about the kingdom of Heaven to others. Here’s how Luke 9:1-6 explains it:
1 One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. 2 Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
3 “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money,or even a change of clothes. 4 Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. 5 And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”
6 So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.
Now as you read this, you immediately note two things. One point Jesus makes is that if a town refuses to welcome you, leave the town and move on to another. I think this clarifies that one of the main purposes of these trips by the apostles was to identify towns and communities that were receptive to Jesus’ teaching. Jesus would use these trips by the apostles to help identify the communities that were hungry for His teaching, then He would later go there personally to spread His ministry.
But there’s another key point in these scriptures, and I think it’s THE key point: Jesus was quite clear that the apostles would leave for their journey with NOTHING. No money, no food, barely the clothes on their backs and that’s it.
Why would Jesus do this?
Before I give my answer, let’s look at how The Chosen handled this scene:
I believe Jesus sent the apostles out with nothing in order to teach them to trust that God would provide for them.
One of the most common teachings of the Bible is that God instructs us to fear not. Here’s a great trivia question, do you know how many times the Bible tells us not to be afraid?
365 times. One for every day of the year. A daily reminder not to be afraid. Because if we completely trust in God, we have no reason to be afraid.
As a consultant, my income can fluctuate wildly. It’s not uncommon to go weeks or months with little or no work. Other times, I may have more work than I can physically do, and have to turn away projects. It’s definitely not a life for someone that prioritizes a stable, consistent income. I’ve talked to many peers over the years who refused to make the jump from the corporate world to consulting, and almost always they cited the ups and downs of money flow as a main reason why.
One time, I was waiting on some money to come in. I knew the date the money was supposed to hit my account, everything had been arranged. I was literally waiting on this money to pay several bills as soon as it arrived. The day arrived…and the money did not. I immediately panicked. My mind raced, how would I pay these bills that were soon due?
After a few minutes, a thought came into my mind: Why was I worried? Why didn’t I trust that God would provide for me?
This thought helped calm me. Over the next few days, I tried to focus on trusting God, as best I could. Then a few days later, the money came through, and more than I had expected! Then, an additional source came a few days later. Then another.
I’ve talked before about what the Bible says about worry. Earlier this year when I began to read the book of Matthew for the first time and his writings on worry, I was struck by this thought: “Worry and faith cannot exist in the same space.” But more than that, God doesn’t want us to worry because when we worry, it means we are focusing our attention on this world. When we act out of faith, it means we are focusing our attention on God. When the money I was expecting didn’t arrive, I immediately began to worry, because I was focused on this world, on what *I* would need to do in order to get a new source of money in, and quickly. But God had already sorted that out for me. He had already taken care of the money, and ensured that I would have even more than I was expecting.
So my worry, even for a little bit, was pointless. And I think you could say it was a test from God. Who knows, maybe there was an even greater reward that God wanted to give me, if I hadn’t worried at all.
The next time something doesn’t go as planned and I am tempted to worry, my first thought will hopefully be “Remember what happened the last time I worried? God took care of me.”