Friday, July 3rd. Mark 6:8-13

He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. Mark 6:8-13

This piece of the story is special to me. The very first sermon I wrote, the first Sunday that I got to preach, at the first congregation I was called to serve, was based on these same words of Jesus.

I remember sitting in my new office, a yellow legal pad in front of me, my typewriter waiting at the back of my desk, reading these words. I had just traveled from Minnesota to Texas in the biggest U-Haul truck they had. It was filled to the brim with the accumulated possessions, including not-so-excellent hand-me-downs, of 27 years of life. The parsonage was a mess, boxes everywhere, stuff stuffed in every corner.

And there I was, reading these verses addressed to those sent out to do ministry in Jesus’ name…travel light it said. Don’t be encumbered by too much stuff. Take only what you need and be ready to run to the next town.

I felt exposed. I had blown it before I even had a fighting chance to try.

But there is wisdom in these words. Even when we hear them, as I heard them then, only as law. The world tells us to accumulate accumulate accumulate. Whoever dies with the most toys wins. You can’t do ministry today without an awesome building, projector screens, a mammoth pipe organ, a hot rock band, a slick pastor who forgot to tuck his shirt in… And we know, in the bottom of our gut, that there are so many things wrong with thinking that way that we hardly know where to start. The wisdom is that Jesus’ admonition to travel light attacks us right at the point where we think we need more.

And the good news rushes in. Jesus is enough. The message is enough. The power that flows through God’s people is the power of God, not the power of power equipment. It was enough to receive the courage to move and then to go. And the disciples went out and they produced godly fruit – lives transformed and redirected, hurting people restored, hope swallowing up despair.

I thought it was about me as I wrote that first sermon. I’ve learned it is about us. And I won’t be content until that us includes everyone. We might need to shake the dust off our feet now and again, but that isn’t to say that we won’t be back tomorrow.

Let us pray: Guide us, Redeemer, Lord and Savior! Pilot us. Help us drop our baggage and go. Fill us with that courage and power to confront all that is in and around us that opposes your rule of love and service. For we know it is only in being truly known by you, that we have any hope of being truly free. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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