(Matthew 10.5-15; Mark 6.7-13)
1Jesus called together his twelve apostles and gave them complete power over all demons and diseases. 2Then he sent them to tell about God's kingdom and to heal the sick. 3 He told them, “Don't take anything with you! Don't take a walking stick or a traveling bag or food or money or even a change of clothes. 4When you are welcomed into a home, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people won't welcome you, leave the town and shake the dust from your feet as a warning to them.”
6The apostles left and went from village to village, telling the good news and healing people everywhere.
Herod Is Worried
(Matthew 14.1-12; Mark 6.14-29)
7 Herod the ruler heard about all that was happening, and he was worried. Some people were saying John the Baptist had come back to life. 8Others were saying Elijah had come or one of the prophets from long ago had come back to life. 9But Herod said, “I had John's head cut off! Who is this I hear so much about?” Herod was eager to meet Jesus.
Up until this point, Jesus was the only one teaching and doing miracles in his ministry. Now Jesus hands over the baton. He passes his authority on to the disciples, delegating them to take over what he’s been doing. How exciting! What pressure!
The assignment may have seemed daunting (who likes making cold calls?) and risky (going on a trip with no money?). There must have been some fear of failure. Taking over a job from someone who does it perfectly is not easy.
Jesus addressed this.
He gave clear instructions, and also gave them freedom to leave a town with a warning if their message was not accepted. Jesus made it clear where their responsibility started and ended. Although it would be painful for the disciples to have their message rejected, they wouldn’t have to carry a burden of failure. Success was not in how many accepted them and their message, but whether or not they had been obedient to what Jesus directed them to do.
So many times we define success by the reaction and acceptance of others. When Jesus gives us an assignment, or ministry, no matter how big or small, our responsibility is to carry out exactly what he has asked of us. Our success is determined by our obedience – not by the opinions, approval or acceptance of others.
Let’s not get caught up in striving to change situations and people in order to gain what seems to be success. We are only called to carry the load God gives us. We can shake off the dust of responsibilities that are not ours. We must remember that at some point, when Jesus says so, it’s okay to walk away.
Lord Jesus, you so graciously ask me to be faithful to you and not the demands of others. Give me ears to hear your instructions and know success through obedience to you so I won’t be distracted or discouraged by the disapproval or rejection of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.