This section of Matthew’s Gospel focuses on men who are on a mission for the King. It is a reminder to 21st century disciples that He continues to call us to be people on a mission for God.
The story is told of a famous artist who was commissioned to paint a picture of a dying church. It was expected that he would paint a small, poor, humble congregation in a dilapidated building with few people in the pews. Instead, he painted a large impressive stately edifice with a huge pulpit and magnificent stained-glass windows and rich carpeting. Near the entrance door was an offering box, marked “Missions,” with the contribution slot blocked by cobwebs. (Charles Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart, p. 378).
Unfortunately, it is not just a contribution box that has cobwebs, but for many the idea of being missionaries for Christ has been covered with cobwebs. Many feel it is the role of the paid staff to do the work of Christ and carry out the mission of the church. God has called all of us to carry the good news to the world…to be God’s messengers to a lost and dying world!
Encouraging the Messengers
Jesus was a realist. In sending out His disciples, He told them what to expect and what He expected from them.
Speak boldly: England’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote, “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use the pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time; a tremendous whack.” (Karon, Patches of Godlight).
Be prudently wise: A wise person learns from his/her failures and builds on them rather than allowing those failures to keep them on the ground!
Be sincere servants: These servants had no hypocrisy or pretense in their bones! They were true and honest to the Lord.
Freedom for the Messengers
The real secret to freedom is the courage we have as His messengers of the truth. That includes:
Freedom from the fear of men: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (v. 28).
Freedom to reverence God: The call to reverence God is not a style of preparation, but preparation for a meeting of extreme importance.
Freedom in the care of God: I can rest assured God cares about all that is happening in my life.
September 1965, Hurricane Betsy stormed out of the South Atlantic. Evangelist Paul Martin lived 20 miles from Key Largo, Florida. After the hurricane passed, he and his wife went to view the aftermath. As they were walking, they heard a noise coming from a garbage can. When they looked inside, there were three wet and windblown sparrows, but there was one outstanding characteristic—they were all safe! They had lived through hurricane winds.
There is certainly no place or point in complaining about the place God has provided. The best place in the world is just where God wants you. God can see around the corner; we cannot. God knows the steepness of the hills, the depths of the valleys and the speed of the prevailing winds; we do not. That is why He draws us to His particular place. Anywhere with Jesus is a good place, for it is where He knows you will be safe in His care.
Priority for the Messengers
God is the center of life: Someone said our walks with Jesus are not simply Sunday strolls with Jesus, but a daily commitment to follow the Holy Spirit, a daily surrender to please Christ and not one’s self.
God is the Source of help in life: You and I need help. To call for help is not cowardly. It is our scream of desperation to be released from self-struggle and open our arms to Christ’s strength. Our God’s arm is not short.
God is the Relevance of life: What I believe about Jesus Christ is not that He lived and died a good Man with a good intention, but that He has the power to transform my life. He is the living Lord.
Paul said God has not given His disciples a spirit of fear, but of power, love and minds to reason. As a messenger of God, I must possess these gifts daily.