WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30TH
A TIME OF INSTRUCTION
For our Wednesday instruction, we find Jesus recalling his time with his disciples and the adventures they had together. Today he shares one meaningful moment with us…
Then I called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and I sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. I said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic.” (Luke 9:1-3, NRSV, revised*)
Take a few moments to imagine yourself preparing to be sent out. How do you feel when Jesus says, “Take nothing for your journey”? What do you consider necessities when you travel? Have you ever gone anywhere empty-handed? Why do you think Jesus instructs us in this way?
I share a story from a post from 2019 today…
At the beginning of a backpacking trip in the Colorado Rockies, our guide had all of us stand in a circle, open our packs, and place our belongings on the ground in front of us. She then went to each of our piles and redistributed everything, making decisions for us: “You don’t need this extra sweatshirt, let’s give it to her.” I was touchy about all of this, but I never did need that sweatshirt. I was relieved of carrying unnecessary weight when climbing became strenuous. I carried only what was essential for the trip. **
This lesson taught me more than how to lighten my load. Our group learned the value of teamwork, of sharing, of relying on one another for our hiking trip. We listened to our leader, the one who had hiked the trail numerous times and knew what was essential. Our dependence on one another increased, as did our friendships. We learned how little we needed, we learned to be grateful for what we had, we deepened in trust for our group, our leader, and God.
There are plenty of resources for the whole world to share. I wonder if our inability to provide for everyone can stem from pride more than greed. I know that my trust in God’s provision is hampered by my reluctance to rely on the goodness of others, to depend on someone else for my needs. I may want to share, but I also want to keep enough resources to remain self-reliant, self-sufficient, never dependent. In doing so, I am missing valuable lessons in humility, generosity, and faith. I am regarding our world with scarcity instead of looking to our God of generous abundance.
Jesus sent the disciples on their journey with nothing, so they were able to approach others with humility over superiority, with a mutual dependence on one another, with a deep trust in God’s provision, and with the news of the unlimited love of Christ.
What greater visible testimony to their love of Jesus and the goodness of God could there be?
*The name of Jesus and his pronouns have been adapted by Karen into first-person.