Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words— go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment
than for that town.”
What does all that mean?
Do you believe that the Gospel has power to change your life and the lives of others? Jesus gave his disciples a two-fold commission to speak in his name and to act with his power. The core of the Gospel message is quite simple: the kingdom (or reign) of God is imminent! What is the kingdom of God? It is that society of men and women who freely submit to God and who honor him as their Lord and King. In the Lord’s prayer we pray for God to reign in our lives and in our world: May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Number 1: Doing the works which Jesus did
Jesus also commissioned his disciples to carry on the works which he did – bringing the healing power and mercy of God to the weary and oppressed. The Gospel has power to set people free from sin, sickness, fear, and oppression. The Lord Jesus will free us from anything that keeps us from loving him and our neighbor with joy and confidence.
Number 2: Sharing generously what God has given to each one of us
Jesus said to his disciples: Freely you have received, freely give. What they have received from Jesus they must now pass on to others without expecting a favor in return, whether it be in form of a gift or payment. They must show by their attitude that their first interest is in serving God, not receiving material gain. They must serve without guile, full of charity and peace, and simplicity. They must give their full attention to the proclamation of God’s kingdom and not be diverted by other lesser things. They must travel light – only take what was essential and leave behind whatever would distract them – in order to concentrate on the task of speaking the word of the God. They must do their work, not for what they can get out of it, but for what they can give freely to others, without expecting special privileges or reward. “Poverty of spirit” frees us from greed and preoccupation with possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision. The Lord wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves.
Number 3: Support the work of the Gospel with your resources
Secondly, Jesus said: the worker deserves his sustenance. Here we see a double-truth: the worker of God must not be overly-concerned with material things, but the people of God must never fail in their duty to give the worker of God what he or she needs to sustain themselves in the Lord’s service. Do you pray for the work of the Gospel and do you support it with your material and financial resources?
Jesus ends his instructions with a warning: If people reject God’s invitation and refuse his word, then they bring judgment and condemnation on themselves. When God gives us his word there comes with it the great responsibility to respond. Indifference will not do. We are either for or against God in how we respond to his word. God gives us his word that we may have life – abundant life – in him. He wills to work in and through each of us for his glory. God shares his word with us and he commissions us to speak it boldly and simply to others. Do you witness the truth and joy of the Gospel by word and example to those around you?