“Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.”
Matthew 10:9-10 New Living Translation
In Matthew 10, we see a scene where Jesus sends the 12 men he would appoint as His first messengers on a mission to various towns in Israel to spread the news of the Kingdom of God coming. As Jesus went about the work of training up others to live in His Kingdom, he didn’t just sit them down in a circle and give them a lot of information to learn. He included them in the work. This was their first mission to go without Him and practice some of what they had learned.
As Jesus sends His first team of disciples out, He gives them instructions on how to conduct themselves as they travel. Interestingly enough, they are told not to bring the usual traveling provisions they may have been accustomed to bringing. They weren’t supposed to bring money, food, or a change of clothes with them. They were even told not to bring a walking stick, which was commonly used for protection along the road. Instead, they were instructed to rely on God and the hospitality of others along the way. They were supposed to find a host in whatever town they visited and stay with that person. The host would receive a blessing from God for their care for the traveling disciples. If they did not find a favorable host in a town, they were supposed to wipe the dust of that town from their feet and move along. This whole process was an opportunity for the first apostles to learn to leave behind their ways of self-reliance and trust their care in the hands of God and others.
As we seek to follow Jesus in His mission, we will have times when we need to learn to let go of our desire for self-sufficiency and listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit for how we are supposed to find resources for the work we are doing. Our natural tendency may be to map out a plan with every detail taken care of. In our preparation, we may want to make sure we have every possibility covered before we set out on mission. There is a place for good stewardship and preparation. There are times, though, when we need to step out in obedience without having all our t’s crossed and i’s dotted. Those are the times that God calls us to a special reliance on HIm to be our provider. This keeps us humble in the work of the mission and opens us up to the possibility of miraculous provision to see something happen that goes beyond our own abilities. It also takes the attention off of us and puts it on Jesus, who is the one truly doing the work.
Lord, help us to put aside our need for self-reliance to enter a place where we learn to trust You and the other people You put in our lives.