Monday, October 14, 2013

Shake Off the Dust

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. Matthew 10:5-15

Letting go is one of the hardest things we can do. I have often persisted in trying to fix something or a relationship that refuses any fixes. We can hurt and discourage ourselves when folks won't listen and won't take in forgiveness. Healing requires a willingness, an openness to God and change, and when that is refused, we only hurt ourselves and our ministries by trying to fix the un-fixable. Some things we have to leave to God.

Jesus is sending his disciples out after they had walked many miles with him. They had witnessed many miracles and been strengthened by these experiences. Now they were going out on their own and facing the challenges of caring for others. Jesus tells them to offer life and healing to everyone. He also tells them to shake off the dust and leave to God those who refuse to hear, those who refuse to welcome, those who refuse love and forgiveness. What a practical bit of advise and yet so hard for many of us to hear. We tend to take refusal as a challenge. God invites us today to let no be no, and continue to offer what we have in the places we are received and among the people that will welcome us.

Today I ask God to help me let go and give God the situations I cannot fix. May we shake the dust off our feet when we are rejected, forgiving the hardness of heart and turning them over to God. May we be ready at all times to move on, accepting the welcome of those who open their doors. And may we let go so that we can be strengthened for the days ahead.

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