Discerning Our Mission
Last weekend we had Aubreigh’s 6th birthday party at our home and she had 7 friends over to play water games and celebrate. We welcomed parents to stay and hang out and some of them took us up on the offer and hung out in the patio while the kids played in the water. As we were talking, one of the couples told us that they had come to a big open house for our house when it was still on the market. There were some things that they liked about the house but there were also some things they really didn’t like about it. They didn’t like that the pool had been filled in. They didn’t like that the master bathroom had been made handicapped accessible. And there were other things on the list as well about it that they didn’t like.
Admittedly, Bekkah and I didn’t like them either, but we’ve accepted the pool being filled in and we worked on the master bathroom so that it feels like a regular bathroom again. We’ve done some other things with paint and such to make it fit more of what we like. But as I thought about what they said and about our own thoughts when we entered the house and all the other houses we visited when we were buying, was how much we immediately focus on judging a house based on what it has to offer us, what its drawbacks are, and if it fits our style that we have created in our minds. If the pro list outweighs the con list then we, and most people I feel, decide if it is a place that we would like to live in for a time.
Jesus invites the 70 disciples to go a visit towns and to stay in homes while they are traveling. He invites them to stay in the same house and to eat and drink whatever is given to them. They are told not to move around from house to house and again reminded to eat whatever is given to you. Jesus must have had a thing for manners because twice he reminds the disciples that they should eat what is placed before them. Or maybe he had disciples that are like children who say they only eat certain things! Make sure to eat what they give you and don’t complain!
But seriously, Jesus tells the disciples what it is they are being sent out into these towns and homes to do. By telling them what to do he is also telling them what not to do. So to be a bit more serious about the food and drink thing, Jesus is telling the disciples to accept whatever is offered. Nothing offered should be judged. Don’t say that you don’t like the looks of a house or the people inside it, because the people and that house are providing for your daily needs. They awe welcoming you into their home and accepting the Word of God you a providing for them.
In all that Jesus tells them, one thing he omits is any word of judgement. There is no need to judge what the house looks like. There is no need to do what we heard about in last weeks Gospel which is James and John offer to call down fire and consume the Samaritan village when they didn’t receive him. James and John want to judge the people guilty for not accepting Jesus into their town, but Jesus rebukes the disciples from bringing any kind of judgement or harm to them.
The same runs true for the sending of the seventy. In fact, Jesus only tells the disciples to do things in the positive. Once again, he tells them to stay with whoever welcomes them. The actual work of the disciples are as follows:
They are sent out to offer peace to each house that they enter. When they offer peace, that peace will then be with the person who accepts them. This kind of peace is the peace of God and not a worldly kind of peace.
The second thing Jesus invites them to do is cure the sick. Anyone who is sick and is brought to them is supposed to be cured. Again, they are not to make a judgement call, but simply to cure anyone brought to them.
Finally they are to share with everyone that the kingdom of God has come near. Here they share the good news of Jesus and how much God loves them in their messages to the people.
The only possible negative Jesus tells them is to shake off the dust of their sandals because they did not accept them. All of the possible judgement and criticism isn’t meant for the disciples to do. It’s not the job of the disciples to judge the town for their unwillingness to accept their message. It is simply their job to share the message to those who will hear it.
I started my message today by talking about my house and the judgments we and others made to it. Unfortunately it is in our nature to make judgements of things, but I think Jesus helps us to see that when it comes to faith, it is not our job to make judgements. It is our job to share the good news and to offer the peace of God to all whom we meet. None of us are perfect so none of us have the ability to judge each other. In fact God alone is the judge. Jesus says in that whoever is without sin should throw the first stone and all the people gathered realize they aren’t that person. It’s not our job.
Our job, Jesus clearly points out is to offer peace, cure the sick, and proclaim the kingdom of God. May we spend a little time each day to find ways that we can embrace the mission of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and may we be comforted by knowing that God’s judgement is love through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. A love that forgives and offers us life. May God bless us all on our journey of faith and discipleship. Amen.