Do you know the story of “The Boy Who Cried, Wolf”? The shepherd boy who falsely cried “wolf” so many times that after some time no one would come to his aid. Of course, as the case with moral tales, the real wolves came, he cried “wolf”, and no one came. He died.
This could be a tale of bearing false witness (the 9th Commandment). It also could be because not everyone has the same vision.
We see that all the time from politics, to businesses, to churches, to families. Each person has a slightly different “vision” of the future. Often, we criticize, minimize, denigrate, and insult those that have a different vision. It can be hard, especially if they’re family, yet those differences are the “spice” and “flavor” of life.
The 11 Apostles (remember, one of the original 12 died) received their commission, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.” [Matthew 28:18–20, CEB]
Go into the [whole] world. Such a small thing. It’s kind of like a commencement address, full of a huge concept that sounds awesome and inspiring, then (just like commencement) on the other side, reality hits.
It is what is on the other side that reveals the foundation of our life.
The Psalmist that God is “rock and salvation”, a “stronghold”. If indeed humans are nothing but a breath, nothing but lies, and don’t even register on a scale (all from an “absolutist” infinite deity perspective), what little remains of a human’s worth is based upon their foundation.
Jeremiah mourned the event of his birth. His grief was based on a couple of things. First, he was a “messenger of doom” for Israel. That was pretty rough.
Second, he mourned the hardness of heart of the Israelites. He couldn’t understand how the Israelites could be so heart- and faith-less toward God. The entirety of the story of Israel revolved around what God did!
Jesus’ reprimands to Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum echo what Jeremiah said. “Doom is coming. The consequences of your decision to harden your hearts and reveling in that hardness is coming.” (Ian’s summation)
The reprimand is a result of cities not welcoming the harbingers of the Kingdom of God (it’s more of an advance warning for when it happens). The disciples of Jesus were to be completely dependent upon the towns and people they would come to.
They were not sent with massive amounts of money, food, clothing, or protection (no weapons). They were sent as they were. They might have had a drachma or denarius or a few. They had a pair of sandals (which they were wearing). They had the clothes (again, that they were wearing). That’s it.
And off they went, the commencement of the first missionary event.
If you think there is no one that you are and are to be a missionary to, pray that God gives you the spiritual eyes to see who is before you. Perhaps why the church is so weak right now isn’t because we are “set aside” or are “unimportant”. Perhaps we have long forgotten that we are to not just be missionaries to the world; we are also to be missionaries to each other (the “bible-ish” word is edify).
Many of us are looking for that special answer or that perfect argument. Others of us want to be an example yet realize that compared to Jesus we are not much to look at.
We are called to cry, “wolf”, and the world doesn’t believe us. It’s hard to explain the wolves coming that they cannot see.
- When we looking for the special answer, perfect argument, or being the example, what is the real foundation of that?
- Why is it necessary to be missionaries to one another (to edify)?
- The example of the disciples’ first missionary journey is not burdened with “stuff”. How can that be an example of our journey? What could be a wrong application of this lesson?
Lord Jesus, you have called us to go into the world. Help us be the encouragers of others, that all your church—your bride—will reach the world for your name’s sake. Amen.