The Bible tells us in Matthew Chapter 10 that when Jesus sent the 12 disciples out on their first mission trip, He gave them gave very specific instructions as they made preparations for their journey (see also the parallel accounts in Mark 6 and Luke 9).
“Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.
Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. When you enter the home, give it your blessing. If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave.”
Essentially, they were sent out with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They were to take no food, money, a change of clothes, not even so much as a walking stick. They were to accept the hospitality of the people in the towns they would visit. But they were also told to shake the dust off their feet if anyone refused to welcome them.
I imagine there was some apprehension. They must have wondered how, when, or where they would be fed and housed. But according to the Gospel accounts, the disciples were obedient and followed Jesus’ instructions when they went out on this unprecedented mission trip. Though they may not have completely understood why Jesus gave such explicit instructions, they obeyed. They trusted Jesus with their security and well being.
The Bible says we only need faith the size of a mustard seed, and these disciples trusted Jesus enough to believe that their needs would be taken care of while they were on their journey. Yes, they may have had apprehension and anxiety, but they believed Jesus would provide for them.
This raises a question for us today in our time: Where is our security? I’ll be the first to confess; I haven’t always placed my faith and trust in God to be my provider. I’ve been unemployed twice in my work life, and those were times of near panic. My security was grounded in steady employment. I’ve heard people say, “I have a degree from XYZ University. I’m good.” Others say, “I have a marketable skill that is always in demand. I’m just fine.” Others place their security in their bank accounts, their retirement accounts, or their possessions. But the lesson for us is the same lesson Jesus was teaching his disciples when he sent them out with nothing but the clothes on their backs: We need to trust Jesus with our security.
This is easy to say. It’s much harder to do. We’re all familiar with John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” But chapter 14 of the book of John begins with Jesus telling his disciples in the first verse, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”
“TRUST IN GOD, TRUST ALSO IN ME.”
And again, that is the message for us today. Our faith and trust must be in God and God alone. Jobs can go away in an instant, as I learned the hard way several years ago. The markets can fluctuate and wipe out retirement accounts overnight. Possessions can be destroyed in the blink of an eye by fire or natural disaster. The only constant is God. God is trustworthy. He never changes. That’s why He must be the source of our security. And let me emphasize right here that this is NOT, I repeat, NOT a prosperity gospel message. God is our provider when it comes to our needs, but he is not a cosmic Santa Clause. There is a difference between wants and needs. God knows what we need before we ask (Mathew 6:8, Luke 12:30).
Finally, what if we are called as the disciples were? What if we are called for mission work? For ministry? I’m talking about the undeniable calling of God leading you to the mission or ministry fields. It can be a difficult decision to leave what makes us feel secure to answer that call. I recently answered God’s call to ministry and for the moment, I feel that God is equipping me and preparing me for that ministry. Will He call me to leave my job and go into ministry full time? I don’t know. Maybe it will be my calling to stay at my job to minister to my co-workers. Whatever it is that God has planned for me, I only pray I’ll have the courage to answer that call when it comes and to be as obedient as the 12 disciples. And I pray this for you as well.