Friday, December 19, 2014

Sending the Seventy, part 10: Staying and Swallowing

Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house.'...
Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. (Luke 10:5, 7 NASB)

We are studying the passage in Luke 10 where Jesus sent the seventy disciples out as forerunner-evangelists. He assigned them villages and places where He would be going. They were to go ahead of Him and preach the gospel as well as heal the sick, carrying nothing with them except the clothes on their backs. (Literally, they were not even to carry an overnight bag with undies and toothbrush!) God Himself had made arrangements for their provision. 

They were to go with one very simple plan. When they arrived in a town, they were to offer a blessing of peace at a house. If there was a man of peace there, he would receive the blessing and they would be welcomed into the home. They were not to look at the house, think "maybe we can find a more comfortable house down the road", and try to move on. That is not how the provision would work. When hospitality was offered, they were to accept it. There was to be no moving around to a bigger or more lavish accommodation later. They were to stay right there, graciously accepting what was offered, sticking it out, no matter how comfortable or how rough the accommodations might be. 

They were to eat and drink what they were given. I've had the responsibility to be involved in the hosting of "celebrities" from the faith community on occasion and, frankly, they would do well to read this passage. On one occasion, the list of requirements for their comfort was so astounding that I strongly considered that  we should cancel the contract. For a one-time concert, I ended up moving the contents of my living room to the venue to provide the required comfort. The list of food they required was equally astounding, and much of it went to waste. By the time they gave the concert, their fine words were utterly meaningless to me because of the demands for comfort that preceded it. This should not be the way we travel in the name of Jesus. 

We live in a society of entitlement and that philosophy has taken something of a hold on all of us. Jesus was very clear. Don't even think about what you are entitled to have. Take what comes and be glad of it. Receive the blessings of God and offer thanks for whatever He sends, whether lavish or simple. Why? Why did this accepting what was offered matter? Their response to what was offered was the first indication of the truth of the gospel. The fine words of the blessing of peace were just words until their actions demonstrated the veracity of those words, and so it is for us. Does our response to our circumstances demonstrate the truth of what we say we believe or not? If we are to be the "sent ones" of Christ (and we are), then our response to the gifts of God and His provision must demonstrate our gratitude for and acceptance of those gifts. 

Years ago, a career missionary in Central America told me there was a secret to serving that I would need to remember:

"Where He leads me I will follow. 
 What He feeds me I will swallow."

That missionary doctor had learned the secret of the "sent ones" and it made all the difference in His ability to obey. It will for us, too, dear ones. Let's be sure our wants and expectations take a back seat to the Hand of God. Stay where He sends. Eat what He gives. Show the world the heart of Christ in all we do. 
The link to last night's post on being the hands of Christ is here
The new book, The Waiting: When the Answer to Your Prayer is Delayed and Your Hope is Gone, as well as The Clay Papers and The Road to Bethlehem (an advent devotional guide) are now available at Get your copy today.