“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
Matthew 10:16 (NIV)
I was in the local pub last week. I had to wait on some paperwork and figured I’d whet my whistle and work on responding to some emails while I waited. The pub tender told me that he’d been told I was a blogger. I explained that I’d been blogging for many years and had started podcasting in the past two years. I then got to explain my chapter-a-day model. I wasn’t sure, but I sensed that he might have had the impression that it has something to do with my career. I explained that it wasn’t a commercial thing and that I didn’t make money doing it.
“So, it’s just a hobby kind of thing?” he asked.
Another patron required the pub tender’s attention, and he slipped away. The question, however, continued to resonate within me. As with so many things of the Spirit, the pub tender’s question was loaded. The answer is layered. It is at once simple and mysteriously complex.
“Why do you do it?”
Matthew structured his biography of Jesus around five major discourses, or teachings, of Jesus. The first was the message on the hill in chapters 5-7. Today’s chapter is the second major discourse, in which Jesus’ calling of His twelve disciples and His instructions to them as He send them out to proclaim Jesus’ message.
As I read through the instructions, I was struck, once again, by the humility and austerity that He expected of them…
He told them not to pack any extras. Just the clothes on their back.
He told them not to take any money, but to trust God’s provision and the generosity of others.
He told them to give away Jesus’ teaching since it had been freely given to them.
Jesus then goes on to prophetically tell The Twelve not to expect the job to be easy.
They’ll be rejected and unwelcomed.
They’ll be arrested and taken into custody.
They’ll be flogged by God’s own people.
They’ll be put on trial by civic authorities.
They’ll be betrayed, perhaps by their own family members.
Their lives will be threatened.
In the quiet this morning, I couldn’t help but contrast this with all the televangelists and their personal kingdoms I’ve observed along my life journey. I contrasted it with all of the pastors, authors, teachers, and speakers I know and have met who make a living doing Jesus’ continued work on this earth. I don’t think it’s appropriate to expect that Jesus’ literal and specific instructions to The Twelve should be projected onto every single follower that came after. At the same time, there’s an underlying attitude that I think is always applicable. Things of the Spirit are layered with meaning.
I’m not responsible for others. I am responsible for myself. So, I find myself questioning my own attitude and motivations as the pub tender’s casual question continues to resonate in my soul.
“So, it’s just a hobby kind of thing?” he asked.
Yes, and…there’s so much more to it than that. As Jesus instructed The Twelve in today’s chapter: “You received the Message for free. Give it away for free.”
And so, one weekday and one chapter at a time, I freely scatter seeds of thought and Spirit to the four winds of the worldwide interweb. Perhaps, someday, I’ll find out how some of those seeds germinated, took root, flowered, and bore fruit. In the meantime, I keep doing what I’ve been called and compelled to do.
Here you go, wind…
[cue: clicks “Publish” button]
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.
2 thoughts on “A Hobby Kind of Thing”
Linda and I used to have a refrigerator magnet that was in the style of a stereotypical 1950’s, “Leave It to Beaver” husband and wife, in black and white. The wife was drying her hair after showering, and she was saying to her husband: “Honey, if we wanted to make real money, we would have been televangelists.”
5-8 Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
This has always been an interesting topic for me. I’ve never felt called to international mission. I have been intentional in trying to shine my light in my “neighborhood” or circles of influence. Every year we get multiple requests for sponsorship from those who are part of the missional community, largely looking to travel abroad. I have no problem with that and praise God for their ministry, but I am always intrigued that I rarely get local requests for the needs right around me. We try to strike a balance in our financial support, both local and global, but my heart’s passion lies with the needs that are visible to me here. God, thank you for this reminder today…to have my eyes open to the needs in my neighborhood.