Monday, January 14, 2013

Give Freely, Then Let Go ***

S. Matthew 9:35 – 10:15

O. The list of the disciples, followed by Jesus’ explaining how to spread the Good Word. This is a difficult scripture for me. I’ve read it many times and contemplated it as thoroughly as I could. My analysis here is not complete.

A. In the directions Jesus gives to his Disciples before they go out to spread the Word, he states,
 “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans but only to the people of Israel – god’s lost sheep . . . Give as freely as you have received.”
I find it difficult to conceive that the Word is only for the people of Israel. Is it that the Gentiles, Samaritans and others are not worthy, or are they somehow in need of less help?  Is the declaration that the people of Israel are “god’s lost sheep an indication of their disconnection with God?

The last portion of this scripture seems to go against that grain. “Give as freely as you have received.” Jesus must be talking about receiving the Good Word. Each of the disciples were open to receiving the Word, were open to believing in Jesus and his message of forgiveness and mercy. It is the message of forgiveness and mercy that is to be given freely.

The need of the people of Israel is so great that this direction by Jesus  is in response to the immediate situation. The word is for everyone, but right now the needs of the people of Israel are the greatest and that is where the Disciples must go first. This belays some of my previous concerns. Also, maybe it is critical for this activity to be targeted as part of the larger plan, the sacrifice of Jesus by crucifixion.
“When you enter a home, give it your blessing. If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing.”
This is another very difficult verse. How is anyone not worthy of forgiveness or mercy? This seems to go against the very message that Jesus has taught. Everyone is a sinner. How can someone or some town be unworthy of a blessing? To me, this does not seem what Jesus taught.
“If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave.”
I don’t think this is literal. The dust is from the rebuke, from the unwillingness to listen. Any kind of emotional response to it should be left behind. It’s not worth taking with us when we leave. We need only give freely, if the gift is not received, walk away without guilt, shame or need for retribution.

It is important to spread the word, but the receiving of that word is not a weight we take upon ourselves. This is not easy to do. Letting go of the outcomes of others is critical in not creating a block in our relationship with God. When we hold onto anything, anyone or any idea, that relationship is interrupted.

P. May I continue to be open and give freely. May I not take it upon my shoulders the response to that gift.

No comments:

Post a Comment