Matthew 10:9-10. “Provide neither gold, nor sliver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journy, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.”
As Jesus continued to give directions for this first mission of the disciples, He said something that must have startled them: “Don’t take money, don’t carry extra clothing, staves, or shoes. Earn your keep.”
But wait! How will we pay for our food, our lodging? What if it rains and we get wet, and we have no dry clothing? Really, Lord? Shouldn’t we go out and raise support first?
And before you become offended, I’m not saying a single thing negative about the practice of raising support for missions. I believe the churches should support their missionaries. So why was Jesus asking His disciples to go on this journey so unprepared, in terms of physical needs?
I believe there are two principles Jesus wanted His disciples to learn, and that can apply to us today, as well.
First, they themselves had received the message freely, and they were to give it the same way. The Gospel is to be free, without money or price. How often have churches, down through the centuries, paid for ministers, rented out pews, given fairs and dinners to raise money for the church—but overlooked the winning of souls to Christ! Christianity should never be about entertainment to bring people (and their wallets) to church. It should always be about bringing souls to Christ.
Second, going out with no provision whatsoever forced these men to depend wholly on the Lord, Who had sent them. Jesus wanted them to learn that He would always meet their need. He did that through the people who heard the gospel of the Kingdom.
Later, we read in Luke 22:35, Jesus asked the disciples, “When I sent you out with nothing, did you lack for anything?” And the disciples said, “No, Lord. Nothing.”
If God calls us to a task, He will always provide the way when we walk in simple dependence on Him.
I think we’ve lost sight of simplicity. I was having a conversation the other day, remembering some of the youth banquets that were given years ago. The people who were involved remembered going to area grocery stores and asking for the decorations that were being taken down and replaced with new promotional materials. They came home with loads of useful, colorful things. They worked hard to set up all sorts of scenes, from a Hawaiian theme to an “under the sea” setting, all done with elbow grease and a lot of joy and laughter as they worked together. The meals were prepared by volunteers, and they were delicious. The after-activities were inexpensive and fun.
Today, we’re following the world’s example of having to go to luxury hotels for dinner, arriving in limousines, and traveling to expensive places for entertainment. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but I have to ask: How has the “upgrade” helped our young people to become more spiritually mature? How has it taught them to depend on God’s provision?
Seems to me the missions trips they take to third-world countries have a lot more to do with softening their hearts for God than the hundreds of dollars that are spend on a one-night banquet.
And now I’ll get off my soapbox.