"Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food." - Matthew 10:8-10
My co-pastor is fond of saying, "No one has to be convinced to go see stand-up comedy. No one's there because they think it will be good for their kids.They go because it's funny."
She's right. You can see stand-up any night of the week in Chicago, at least if the show isn't sold out. Those packed audiences don't have to be guilted, coaxed, bribed, or obliged. They go because they know they're getting something of value. Then there's church...
Jesus sends his disciples out with nothing – no money, no shoes, no staff, and no change of tunic. They're completely empty-handed! Well, except for the ability to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons...but other than that, they've got nothing!
Jesus is confident that if they follow his instructions, they'll get by. When you save someone's life, you don't have to convince them to let you crash on their couch. The disciples are carrying something of value, and the crowds are sure to recognize it.
Which raises the question, "What am I doing?"
As one who has received this same good news, could I set out with nothing else? Do I believe that the gospel still heals wounds and saves lives? Do I trust it to sustain me? Am I offering something of value?
Jesus, your good news has saved my life. So why am I holding on to all these tunics?
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.