Proper 8 (A): Who’ll Feed the Preacher?
- Mark A. Johnson
- 2011 9 Mar
June 26, 2011
What would you attempt if you could not fail? Are you hindered in what you would like to attempt for the Lord because of self-doubt? I wonder how we would run our computers if Bill Gates had not dropped out of Harvard and risked founding MicroSoft? I wonder if Coca-Cola would have blanketed the globe if Robert Woodruff, CEO of Coca-Cola from 1923 to 1955, had not had a vision of people being able to buy a Coke anywhere in the world? I wonder if the modern missionary movement would have gained the same impetus if William Carey had chosen to remain in his cobbler's shop in England rather than set out for India?
Jesus has been speaking to His disciples about their roles in the missionary expansion of the gospel. In Matthew 9, Jesus was doing the ministry, and the disciples were watching. A hinge passage appears at the end of chapter 9 where Jesus says, "I need some more help if the job is going to get done. Ask God to send more laborers into the field." In Matthew 10, Jesus instructed His disciples with some dire words about what awaited them. Satan would not be happy with their faithfulness. Discipleship may mean separation from family members, but by losing one's life, he or she saves it. Jesus painted such a bleak picture that perhaps the disciples were wondering if anyone would hear them.
I. Some Will Receive Our Message
There are some questions or concerns that any reasonable person will have in starting something new. After all, Jesus said to count the cost. I wonder how many people give up on great dreams because of anxiety about how living expenses and supplies will be met?
Jesus spoke to calm the disciples' nerves by telling them there would be some folks who would receive their message, implied in the words: "The one who receives you." Jesus knew there would be some people who gladly would receive His messengers. How else could He send them out with the instructions to take no supplies for the journey? Anxiety about God's provision is not an excuse not to follow His call.
II. Reward for Receiving the Messenger
Jesus lets the disciples know it matters greatly to God that His messengers be cared for appropriately. Hospitality is such an important issue that the one showing hospitality receives the same reward as the preacher. I am reminded of those who have shown hospitality to me because of who I represent. The fellowship is sweet when we meet someone who recognizes providing hospitality and helping another in practical ways as something he or she can do out of the goodness of his or her heart and love for the Lord.
III. Reward for Ministry
Jesus has a heart for people who enhance the lives of others. That heart is so great that He reasserts in these verses that those who minister to His servants "will not lose their reward," even if the kindness is something so seemingly insignificant as a cup of cold water (Matthew 25).
Anxiety about lack of provision can hinder someone from venturing to start something new for Christ. Jesus lets us know He will take care of us. What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?