If you have spent time around new Christians, you have seen how eager so many are to share their faith. Christ’s love has flooded their stories. They cannot wait to tell everyone who will listen the good news of what Jesus has done for them. We can imagine that the first disciples of Jesus shared this posture. Following Jesus changed everything about their lives, and they were ready to share the story.
Yet, as our Gospel reading for today begins, Jesus has some words of caution. It is as if you can feel Jesus pulling back the eager disciples from heading out the door, saying, “I’m so glad you’re excited, but listen to me first.” Jesus’ instructions include wanting the missionary teams to go out in pairs. He wants them to know that not everyone will meet their excitement with approval. He wants them to be open to how God will use them to heal the sick. Jesus also gives practical instructions about how to live on the road. They are to eat whatever is put in front of them, only to enter houses where they are welcomed in peace, and not to stay long in a town if they are not welcome.
Like the first disciples, we too are called to listen to Christ’s instructions as we share the good news. Our journeys may not look like the one Luke describes, but we can learn much from this first missionary venture. Not everyone will welcome us with open arms. Not every house will be full of peace. Not everyone will cheer us on. But God is with us. God will guide us to where our ministry can thrive. Today, let us not be hasty in new ventures, but instead seek the Lord’s leading first.
Lord, you teach us to share the good news of what you’re doing in our lives. Help us today to proceed with wisdom. Amen.
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures describe what can happen when our own strength fails us. Naaman is a great military commander from Syria, but he has no power to heal himself. The psalmist, traditionally David, has become too comfortable in his prosperity. Both men must humble themselves before they can experience healing and restoration from God. How often do we let our pride stand in the way of our healing? Paul admonishes his readers to carry themselves with humility and to build up one another. What they do will always come back to them; what we sow, we reap. The story in Luke warns against being proud even of the gifts that God gives us. Our greatest joy is not that we can do things for God but that God already has accepted us.
Read 2 Kings 5:1-14. When have God’s instructions been more involved than you expected? How did you respond?
Read Psalm 30. How can you continue to praise God during the dark, lonely, and hopeless times?
Read Galatians 6:1-16. When has your faith community struggled with members’ lack of humility? How did you resolve the situation so that you could welcome and nurture new Christians?
Read Luke 10:1-11, 16-20. When have you misconstrued God’s accomplishments as your own successes? How did you refocus your life or ministry on serving God?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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