Printable PDF: 7-18-2021 Pentecost 08 Sermon
Pastor Clark ~ Mark 6:7-13 ~ July 18, 2021 ~ Pentecost 8
TRUST CHRIST WHEN YOU GO
7Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. 8These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 12They went out and preached that people should repent. 13They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
Dear friends in our Savior Jesus Christ,
The weather has been pretty uncomfortable this past week or so. While I would never want to live anywhere else, we all understand why people like to get away from the desert at this time of year. When you go on vacation, there are certain things you need to take into consideration. Are you flying or driving? Are you staying in a tent, a hotel, with other people? Every trip is a little different.
As Christians we know heaven is our home. That means while we are here, we are “just visiting.” We are strangers and foreigners here. Jesus tells us we have considerations on this “vacation.” The greatest one is simply this: TRUST CHRIST WHEN YOU GO!
- Don’t over pack. (verses 7-10)
We can better understand what that means as we see the instructions Jesus gave his disciples when he was sending them out. 7Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. 8These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.
The Lord told his disciples what to take when they went to do his work. No food, no suitcase, no change of clothes, no money, and they weren’t supposed to make any reservations at the Palestine Holiday Inn. They could take the sandals and clothes they were wearing and a staff to protect them from wild animals on the trip. That was all. For anything else, they would trust the Lord to provide through the very people they served.
Jesus was sending his disciples out on their vicar year in their first taste of public ministry. While most of us here are not in the public ministry, we are all witnesses of Jesus in this world. It is our most important purpose. We witness to our families, our friends, and even strangers. We never stop being witnesses of Jesus. So what should we be taking with us “on our vacation?”
The first time I took a foreign trip, the people who arranged the trip were good enough to send a packing list. Some of the things were obvious. Some of them were things I never would have thought of. But the instruction I appreciate most was the same instruction Jesus gave his disciples; don’t over pack.
We are prone to do that! I heard a commotion out on Palmaire a couple of years ago. It was a homeless lady moving her worldly belongings. She was pulling a shopping cart with a strap behind pulling some other kind of cart like a caboose. She would move this cart up half a block, then leave it and go back and push another shopping cart until she caught up with the first. She had a lot packed for a homeless person.
So what does that mean for you and me? It’s not quite as clear as it was for the disciples. Is it possible that we are spending so much time accumulating stuff and activities that we have forgotten what we are all about? We can have other baggage, too – anxiety, anger, a lack of priorities? These are things of which we can repent, so we don’t over pack. Our time here on this earth is not about preparing to do God’s work: it’s about carrying it out. Let’s be about our Father’s business. Forgot something? Trust Christ to provide.
- Adjust to local circumstances. (verses 11-13)
The reason he wants us to pack light is that he wants us to focus on the work we are sent here to do. What is it really? 11And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 12They went out and preached that people should repent. 13They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
The disciples may have seemed ill-prepared and unprotected as they went out. But these simple men had God’s powerful word. The success and failure of their trip was based solely on telling people what they knew about Jesus. In many instances the Lord opened hearts through their message. In others people would reject their message and thus reject Christ. If that happened, they were to shake the dust off their feet.
Shaking the dust off of their feet was a spiritual symbol that this was a place that was marked for destruction. Jesus tells us about this in Matthew 10:15: Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
What they did was purely a matter of trust. They had to trust that Jesus would provide for them. They also had to trust that his word was powerful enough all by itself to change peoples’ hearts.
That is our experience, too. Heaven is our home because Jesus has won it for us. We have that through trust in what he has done. That trust is not just that we will go to heaven. It’s also that when we share God’s word with our children so that they grow up to know Jesus, or when we share the soothing balm of his love with someone injured by loss, or share the light of his Word with people lost in darkness, that it will accomplish what he expects. He has privileged you and me to share it whatever the circumstance. He has also promised to bless us and our hearers.
Dear friends, even if you don’t go on a vacation, you are still going somewhere this summer. Follow the directions he has chosen so that you stay plugged into the power of his word and receive his powerful blessings. There are lots of other ways to go, but none have power. Christ’s path always does. Trust Christ! No other travel agent will do. Amen.