Friday, July 05, 2013

Undemanding workers

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 10:1-12

TO CHEW ON: "And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the labourer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you." Luke 10:7-8

In talking about the nitty gritty of the mission on which He was sending seventy disciples, Jesus gets right down to details about practical things.
  • They were to go in twos.
  • When they went from town to town, they were to:
- Bless their host house with peace.
- Stay in one house, not house-hop from place to place.
- Eat the food they were given. In fact He gives the food instruction twice.
Bible scholars suggest that these disciples were giving some unspoken signals as they followed Jesus' instructions:

1. Contentment with their accommodations: "…avoiding even the appearance of caring or wishing for dainties" (*Pulpit Commentary).

2. Their accommodations were not a freebie or a "beggar's alms"* but like earned wages.

3. They were to eat what was set before them. For these Jewish men, did this include carelessness about whether or not the food was ceremonially clean or unclean? Was this the beginning of Jesus breaking down their repugnance toward the Gentiles? Our commenter again: "There seems a quiet recommendation not to be rigid in inquiring as to the cleanness or uncleanness of the viands…. It seems probable that extreme rigidness in this particular, now that mission work on a broad scale had commenced, here began to be relaxed."* Of course this relaxation came out clearly in Paul's letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 10:27).

Although these instructions may not seem relevant to us, especially if we're not involved in foreign missions, there are things in them we can apply wherever we spread the good news. (On the other hand, with the world coming to us, they may be absolutely relevant as we interact with immigrant neighbours.)  
1. It's good to go out with a buddy (it could be a spouse). Matthew Henry says: "Christ sent the seventy disciples as two and two that they might strengthen and encourage one another." 

2. Contentment with our surroundings, and eating what is put before us, takes the focus off the comfort and aesthetic of the surroundings, the food and drink so the gospel can be the main feature.

3. Our contentment with whatever the setting in which we spread the gospel demonstrates God's acceptance of the people with whom we interact.
(Of course these days we host most of our itinerant speakers, evangelists, workshop leaders etc. in hotels. I wonder whether we don't lose something by no longer hosting these leaders in our homes… just thinking out loud.)

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to live by principles of contentment and acceptance in my everyday life. Amen.

MORE: Your home—a tool of ministry?

"Each of us can participate in some way in evangelism through hospitality—the use of the home as a tool of ministry. The genius of the home is that it is universal to each Christian. We all abide somewhere—in a room or a dormitory or an apartment or a bungalow. In this inhospitable world a Christian home is a miracle to be shared. Perhaps a child needs shelter from her mother's shrieks by resting on our stairs. Maybe someone will knock on our door with tears in her eyes looking for peace. There's not one of us who can't say, 'Come in. Why don't you come in?'" - Karen Burton Mains, Open Heart, Open Home, p. 137

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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