Just like the disciples, Jesus is calling us to go out into the world and preach His message of Hope and Good News! You have been equipped! Now go!
“Your son has a bleeding disorder.” I was so glad my husband, Jim, was sitting beside me in the doctor’s office because I knew I wasn’t hearing anything past the words, “severe Hemophilia, less than 1%,” and what that meant. They went on to talk about treatment plans and all that entailed, while my mind was focused on all my son would miss out on in his life. They showed us how to give Jaden his medicine and I cringed. “Needles,” I whispered under my breath. Jim glanced at me. I shuddered at the thought and he put his arm around my shoulder. It felt like a cruel joke. On the way home our little guy slept. I sat in the passenger seat and wept. Hemophilia would mean limitations. Hemophilia could mean death. Hemophilia also meant needles that I would be required to poke into my son until he grew old enough to do it himself. I had never done well with needles and blood. I flashed back to the first time I attempted to give blood for the Red Cross and remembered getting queasy at the smell of the room and the sight of the blood in the tubes.
We made the decision to have a port placed in Jaden’s chest and began to learn all the ins and outs of giving infusions and taking care of my son’s health. In the beginning, we struggled. Jaden wasn’t even 2 years old yet, would fight us, and have to be held down. Before, during, and after an infusion, I would silently cry. When the ordeal was over, I had no energy to fix dinner. It was one of the hardest times of my life. Six months later, we realized it was getting easier. We got better at giving my son what he needed, and we learned we were stronger than we thought. God had equipped us to take care of this little hemophiliac hero. Someone said these words to me on our journey through hemophilia, “What an honor that God placed this child in your home to care for.” And they were right, what a gift we had been given. You see, Jaden is adopted. Had Jaden not been placed in our home…I sometimes shudder at the thought. God had a plan and He gave us everything we needed to carry out His plan, even the guts to do it.
In Matthew 10 and Luke 10:1-24, Jesus calls His disciples to Him to send them out to spread His message of truth and love. The disciples were ordinary people like you and me. They weren’t the most highly educated, charming, or important people of their day. Jesus called the ordinary and then did extraordinary things through them. He changed the world and continues to change the world by using everyday people. Jesus gave the disciples instructions, or equipped them, on the best way to carry out His work. They were to only go to Jewish people. He sent them to people who they could relate to. We can do the same. Our neighbors, our work friends, those we see on a daily basis, we can relate to them in some way and because of this, we can share the Gospel message. It happens in relationship. We are created in the image of God. God desires a relationship with us and we desire a relationship with one another. It can all start with a simple conversation.
Jesus also prepared the disciples for rejection and we should be prepared too. There will be some who have a complacent attitude and ignore the message we give. But others will have a nasty and vengeful attitude toward the Gospel and to those who share it. How cruel can they be? Matthew 10:16 says, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as wise as snakes and as harmless as doves.” So, when we encounter wolves, two qualities are not only essential; they are commanded. First, Jesus’ followers are to be smart, insightful, strategic, cunning, and wise. In other words, we can’t botch the conversation when opposed. How do we accomplish this? We must be in the inspired word of God daily. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and active. It is sharper than any sword that has two edges. It cuts deep enough to separate soul from spirit. It can separate joints from bones. It judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.” And 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right. By using Scripture, a man of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing.” Being in our Father’s word is key. We must be abiding with the Father, asking Him, “Lord, what can I do for you today?” And then we must listen. Second, even if we are persecuted, criticized, and hated, we must make sure we are a people of character, peace, and purity. The gift of the Holy Spirit was given to infuse those very things into our lives. God equips us with unnatural qualities in this harsh world. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind.” Remember Peter? The disciple who cut off the servant’s ear at Jesus’ arrest. He must have gotten the message that Jesus instructed him in Matthew 10 and Luke 10:1-24, because 1 Peter teaches us how to live out a life of purity and prudence in an angry world.
And then He empowered them with confidence. He tells them to not fear people. The only thing people can take from us is our physical life. These earthen vessels are nothing compared to Christ living in us. God is the one who judges, but then God has no desire to condemn. His desire is for us to have salvation and freedom. Our earthly lives can be taken, but nothing can take from us our relationship with God our Father! Our faith is in God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ whom he raised from the dead! Since our lives are tethered to Jesus, then our future is tethered to the risen Lord as well!
All through the ages, your brothers and sisters have struggled with the same feelings of inadequacy. Rest, my Friends, in the Freedom that only comes from our Father. God promises to equip us with everything we need for doing His kingdom work. We just have to be willing to surrender ourselves to His will. Jesus followed His Father’s instructions to the letter. We follow His example. We have to allow Him to work in us and equip us. We should first believe in Him and then be willing to cooperate with Him, listen to Him, obey Him, and follow His instructions. We don’t have to do these things on our own. He is a good, good Father. He works within us by His Spirit. What an honor it is to have the gift of the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us, comforting us, guiding us, and showing us who we can serve today. So, let us take up the call. Just like the disciples, Jesus is calling us to go out into the world and preach His message of Hope and Good News! You have been equipped! Now go!
Father teach us Your truths. Open our eyes, unclog our ears, and soften our hearts. We want to walk in obedience to You. This takes work. Often times, we are careless with our time that should be devoted to you. Forgive us. Give us a heart that seeks to abide in you and open our minds to the wonders of your word. Strengthen us today to walk in your truth. Help us to be a blessing to the world for you, our King. Thank you for the unbreakable connection we have with you and for equipping us to endure in this world. We love you and thank you for the sacrifice you gave on our behalf.