Today Matt 10:11-16:
"Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
Jesus chooses 12 followers to go out and instructs them to “preach the message” and perform acts of mercy to a “specific group of people” (some worthy person) within the group of “specific people” that is their target audience (the lost sheep Israel - not Gentiles, not Samaritans). Once the person is fnd, spend time with them in their home.
To me this is saying that a disciple must invest time and energy into those that are worthy, but worthy of what? Worthy of the message they are bringing!
Hold on, my eye catches something else. Oh, I see, Jesus is instructing them to find some worthy people and then if the home is deserving to let their peace rest on it, if not, "let your peace return" he tells them. That must mean that some times the disciples will get it wrong! They will offer peace to those whose home is NOT deserving of the peace that they are offering.
No problemo. Jesus says just move on, there are others who need what you have to offer. God will take care of those who reject the message on the Day of Judgment. Offer peace, preach the message that “the kingdom of heaven is near”, perform acts of mercy, and when your efforts are not welcomed, don’t let that discourage you to the point you quit doing what Jesus has instructed you to do. Just move on to the next place.
How many times have you felt you failed at reaching someone with the Good News of Jesus?
How many times have you wanted to quit because it was tough, or it didn’t go like you wanted it to, or you made a mistake and failed?
Well, Jesus is telling these followers that it is going to be tough, you might make mistakes, and it’s not easy out there. “Like sheep among wolves.” Dude, that’s pretty tough! But, Jesus instructs the disciples to be shrewd as snakes, yet innocent as doves, and he definitely doesn’t tell them to quit because it is tough.
In fact, in a way, Jesus is saying ‘know what you’re getting into’, ‘Get your facts together, do your research, know what you’re talking about’. Jesus doesn’t want these 12 guys to underestimate the degree of evil that is out there where they will be doing their work.
Being sure you understand that shrewd and deceit are not the same, let me ask this question: How have you been shrewd in expanding God’s Kingdom?