Jesus Sends Out The 12
“Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this.
YOU are the equipment.
No special appeals for money.
Keep it simple.”
~Mark 6:8-9 The Message
How contrary to most of our ministry efforts – we worry more about our budgets, support goals and packing lists than we do about preparing ourselves holistically (including physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and socially as opposed to just financially).
I remember reading a Japanese Christian’s perspective he wrote after working with American Christians seeking to reach Japanese with the gospel. Most indicting was his observation that when Americans seek God in prayer, they ask most for the resources to accomplish a task. They ask God for money to accomplish the mission (to build a larger building or to fund a super duper outreach) – more than they just ask God to show Himself. The Americans will not move forward without the provision of money – “Lord, bless these plans we’ve made by providing $4 million” rather than “Lord you have told us to go…and we believe you will provide for us and show us what to do as we step out in faith.”
God reminds His people over and over again in the scriptures, money is not necessary for Him to act! A sling and a stone defeat the giant – not the massive, SUV - sized armor; 300 men with torches and glass jars defeat 135,000 with chariots and steel weaponry; others march around the city for 7 days (during post-op circumcision recovery time, no less) – and then blow their trumpets – seeing the wall of Jericho fall; an innocent man dies on a cross between two criminals – deserted by his friends and yea, even his father - and raises from the dead to defeat death. None of these were seemingly strategic. There was not much rationale. They were not “resource” dependant efforts for the Kingdom.
Guilty as charged. The recent strategic planning and integration of business principles into ministries has some merit – but I have sat through way too many meetings where the result was we need more resources (money, infrastructure and people). And as a missionary who “raises” support in an organization that sets strategic plans and support goals – how then, now, shall I live?
The disciples, in this case, were expected to procure resources from the hospitality of others. In Matthew’s account they are told to intentionally search out worthy ones in the city they enter – and accept without hesitation their hospitality – which is their due payment for their work.
My fear is this: Christians are cheap. And yet clearly, the Bible says those who preach the good news are to be supported by those who benefit from it (1 Cor 9:14). Increasingly, fewer Christians are hospitable – no time to open their homes, share a meal, volunteer to rake a neighbor’s yard. They have more debt from spending money on their own houses and have less discretionary time and money to spend it on God’s. Haggai was called to confront a similar mentality in the Israelites – we should take note of the Lord’s response: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? My house lies in ruins while you are all busy building your own fine houses.” (1:4,9 NLT).
Will I live out this theology?
· That I believe God knows and cares for and will provide my need (matt 6);
· That He is able to provide – at the minimum - daily bread/manna.
· That He is the One who owns the cattle on a 1000 hills (Ps. 50:10) and can even prompt a pagan King (Cyrus) to resource His purposes (Ezra 1)
· That “everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord…everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you have already given us!” (1 Chron 29: 11, 14)
· That I am to search for worthy people who are hospitable…
I am the equipment. You are the equipment.
Though we can employ technology – the internet/telephone and television – “tell a person” is still the most effective means of sharing the good news: 2x2, seeking out worthy one’s who are willing to extend hospitality.