I am known for my ruthless packing. We have been asked incredulously at check-in if that is really all the baggage we have for four people. (and yes I always make sure there is room for things we might want to bring back) Packing in such a way gives a very tight focus to what you really need, there is no room for “just in case” or options in my luggage.
However, even I would draw the line at not taking a money bag…
The Work of the Seventy-Two Followers
10 Later the Lord chose seventy-two other followers and sent them out two by two to every town and village where he was about to go. 2 He said to them:
A large crop is in the fields, but there are only a few workers. Ask the Lord in charge of the harvest to send out workers to bring it in. 3 Now go, but remember, I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. 4 Don’t take along a moneybag or a traveling bag or sandals. And don’t waste time greeting people on the road. 5 As soon as you enter a home, say, “God bless this home with peace.” 6 If the people living there are peace-loving, your prayer for peace will bless them. But if they are not peace-loving, your prayer will return to you. 7 Stay with the same family, eating and drinking whatever they give you, because workers are worth what they earn. Don’t move around from house to house.
8 If the people of a town welcome you, eat whatever they offer. 9 Heal their sick and say, “God’s kingdom will soon be here!”
10 But if the people of a town refuse to welcome you, go out into the street and say, 11 “We are shaking the dust from our feet as a warning to you. And you can be sure that God’s kingdom will soon be here!”
16 My followers, whoever listens to you is listening to me. Anyone who says “No” to you is saying “No” to me. And anyone who says “No” to me is really saying “No” to the one who sent me.
The Return of the Seventy-Two
17 When the seventy-two followers returned, they were excited and said, “Lord, even the demons obeyed when we spoke in your name!”
18 Jesus told them:
I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 I have given you the power to trample on snakes and scorpions and to defeat the power of your enemy Satan. Nothing can harm you. 20 But don’t be happy because evil spirits obey you. Be happy that your names are written in heaven!
There are two sides in the story – the goers and the receivers.
The responsibility of the goers is to go. To hear God’s call and commission and go and do what he asks of them. To go where people receive them and hear God’s word.
So the responsibility of the receivers is to do just that. To welcome God’s messengers, hear them and provide for them.
For the goers, the messengers, there is nothing they can take that they need. God and his people will supply. Spare shoes, extra money – none of that is of any use in the work God calls them to. Conversely, God’s people are called to care for and support those who are working for God. If God’s workers are rejected, God is rejected.
So, are you and I goers or receivers?
Are we hearing God’s call, responding, getting out there taking his message to those who need to hear it? Or are we welcoming people in God’s name? Providing them with what they need to fulfil his ministry? Encouraging them and enabling them?
Both are needed in God’s work. The question is not just which we are, but whether we are doing the role we are called to faithfully. Together both roles further God’s work in the world.
Are you playing your part?
I want to be faithful
in what you call me to.
When you send me out,
to go with your message,
help me to go.
secure in you
and not my possessions
to get me through.
When you send others my way,
may I receive them,
that they may be equipped for the work you call them to.
when I go
and when I receive,
may I do it for you