Archive for May 22nd, 2007

To be like the Teacher…

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Today’s scripture: Matthew 10:1-25 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Robert Ferguson):

Once Jesus began calling the disciples he also began delivering “marching orders.” The disciples were to model their ministries after Jesus. They were to liberate people who were suffering and heal those afflicted in body and mind. They were to preach the gospel and the inevitable return of the Kingdom of God.

He advises the disciples that they were not to carry rations, money, clothing, or extra shoes, “walking sticks” or duffel bags. They were to go, sans the provisions that a well prepared traveler would carry. This was a faith journey and God would provide.

Jesus advised them not to undertake the task unaware of the nature of the world they would face. He warned them that they could expect opposition and persecution, even from their own families, because he sent them out with a message that offended many of the pious and the religious lawmakers. Jesus did not want his disciples to harbor illusions that their task would be easy or that they would be welcomed by those to whom they were sent.

This passage is not merely a pep talk. Jesus was preparing them to drink from the same cup from which he would drink. He wanted to make sure that they were prepared to endure the hardships they would surely suffer.

In our time, people seldom persecute us because of our beliefs or the content of our witness. We may suffer from discrimination and injustice because of our race, orientation or identity, or national origin, but rarely because we are practicing our faith. I have to ask, why not? Are we enjoying “get out of jail free” grace, “free parking” grace, or grace without any sacrifice?

In a world where God seems to be an afterthought, I wonder whether the truth faithfully announced, and a ministry guided by a concern for the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden might not, in fact, be an invitation to persecution and suffering.

Thought for the day: Are we announcing the truth faithfully? Are our ministries guided by Christlike motives?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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