Summary: What if Jesus was to tell you to leave all your possesions and necessities behind in 2014? Would you be up for the challenge?
The trip to Atlanta last weekend was spiritually educational. We fed 103 women and children plus about 20 men at The Garden. They really enjoyed the food. I was able to spend a little time with Pastor 7 and was able to tour the facilities.
On Saturday in a cold, wet drizzle we went to feed the homeless under and around the bridges of Atlanta. I must admit it was not what I expected. Those that I saw were not as dissolute as I expected. Many lived in tents that looked almost new. They had an ample supply of blankets and food. It seemed we were only adding to their bounty. It seemed as if they were not needy at all.
I must admit I came home Saturday wondering if I really needed to make this trip. However, as I was pondering my sermon for this week God led me to the passage we will study today. Then He smacked me upside the head. I had completely missed it. These people were abundantly cared for because of the mercies of the Christians around them. I had missed the compassion and glory of God. I had missed the fact that I was looking at the results of the teachings of Jesus toward the poor.
We who have plenty often overlook those who have little. We approach them with judgment. We forget Jesus was homeless. Jesus said of himself, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20) He was homeless by choice as many are today. His brothers would have gladly taken him home. However, we also know that Jesus was not poor. The group had a treasurer, Judas. They had money provided to them from “others who were contributing from their own resources.” (Luke 8:3) Therefore, while the disciples were with Jesus they felt they would be taken care of. Jesus, however, wanted to stretch them.
Mark 6:7-10 “And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.
“ ‘Wherever you go,’ he said, ‘stay in the same house until you leave town.’ ”
Imagine if the Holy Spirit came to you in a vision and said these things to you. What if He said, “I want you and your best friend to leave your home tomorrow. Don’t pack a lunch. Don’t pack your suitcase. Don’t get money out of the bank. Leave your ATM card behind. Grab a walking stick and put on your shoes. And hope you will find someone compassionate enough to take you in and let you stay for a while. Now go!” What would your reaction be? I believe this is his call on you this year of 2014.
Before you head for the door, I do not mean we are to leave our family, homes, and jobs to go live on the street. However, I believe that Jesus wants to challenge each of us this year to rise to a new level of faith. This was the challenge that lay before the disciples.
There are six things He wants to challenge us with doing in 2014.
First, He wants us to be partners. He sent them out two by two. No one does well alone. The roads were dangerous and filled with robbers. Ecclesiastes 4:12 reads, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
We need to have each other’s back. I need to be able to depend on you and you on me. You standing alone will wear you down but with someone else supporting you with a listening ear and prayer, your problems can be conquered. Add the Holy Spirit to the mix and you have a triple-braided cord that can withstand anything.
Secondly, He wants you to lean on him. He desires to be your walking stick this year. A walking stick had many purposes. It helped to maintain balance while walking along the rocky, mountainous trails. It was something to lean when injured. It could be used as a defensive or offensive weapon.
As you walk some rocky trails this coming year He wants to help you maintain your balance. It is easy for us to get off balanced and fall into sinful behavior. He wants to support us so we will not tumble.
He wants you to lean on him when you are hurting. After a fall, there are usually some cuts and bruises. He wants to lift you up, treat your wounds, and give you support to keep moving.