June 21st

 

Bare Essentials

 

1He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 2These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. 

 

17"Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Matthew 10:1-10, 17-20 NIV

 

When God calls us to walk with Christ and serve him, he gives us exactly what we need to do so.  Jesus sent the twelve disciples out on a very difficult mission.  They were to perform the same miracles that Jesus did and spread the message of the kingdom of heaven.  In addition to that, they were not to take money or extra provisions with them.

 

To the natural mind, embarking on such a mission might seem foolhardy.  They had nothing for their physical needs except the clothes on their backs.  They had no arrangements for where they would stay, and on top of that Jesus told them to expect hostility. 

 

When we consider the spiritual perspective, the picture is much different.  In fact, they were well-prepared for their mission.  Jesus gave them a very powerful tool that they would need to complete their mission:  the authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and every sickness.  He also gave them the promise of the Holy Spirit, who would give them the words to speak to their persecutors. 

 

Each of us is called to follow Jesus and serve him in some special way.  God has gifted all of us with unique combinations of talents and circumstances that can be used to bring him glory.  Some of those gifts may be used for current tasks and some for future tasks.    When we receive orders for a mission, we need not feel that we have to bring every talent and ability God has given us to bear to complete the mission.  Like a hiker with a small backpack for a long journey, we only need to pack the items that God tells us to bring. 

 

Sometimes that might require us to lay down some of the gifts we enjoy (or prefer) for a season in order to focus on completing the current mission tasks.  For example, as I pursued the call of writing the porn-free website, I had to lay down my pursuit of playing the guitar.  I really wanted my music ability to be part of God’s mission assignment for me and for awhile I tried to keep it up.  I eventually realized that the guitar was not one of tools needed for this mission, so I laid it aside.  I’ve learned that when I’m striving to “make something work” that doesn’t quite fit in, it may not be part of the “bare essentials” needed for my assignment. 

 

Questions for further thought:

·        Has God given you a specific mission to accomplish?  If so, what gifts has he given you to use in doing so?

·        What happens when we rely too heavily on our natural talents & abilities and not on the spiritual gifts God has given us?

·        What is God’s promise to us concerning our physical provisions if we seek his kingdom first? (Matthew 6:33)

 

Prayer:

“Dear Lord, Thank you for preparing me for special missions for your kingdom.  Thank you for loving me and being my Provider.  Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to live in me and to guide me in your ways.  Please help me to know exactly what I need to bring with me to accomplish the missions you have for me and strengthen me to lay the non-essential things down for now.  Please fan the flame of my spiritual gifts according to your purpose for me.  Thank you, Father!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”