“While God is not the author of evil and He never prompts or condones sin, nothing occurs without His sovereign oversight. Others may choose to do evil deeds and God's people may suffer in the short term, but He will transform the evil intentions of evil people into opportunities for the enrichment of those in His care.” ― Charles R. Swindoll: (born October 18, 1934) is an evangelical Christian pastor, author, & educator)
Gospel Text: (MT 10:1-7)
Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.
The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:
first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew;
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew,
Thomas and Matthew the tax collector;
James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus;
Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot
who betrayed Jesus.
Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.
Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
In reading today’s Gospel I try to imagine the thoughts and feelings of the 12 disciples as they discussed the assignment they had been given by Jesus. I imagine myself sitting with them or walking beside the disciples and listening to their conversation:
What does this exactly mean? Can we really do this? I can’t believe he trusts us to do this. But what if something happens to us? Why did he pick us to do this? Does he not know that we have other things to accomplish, work to do? How can we possibly take the time to travel now? The assignment sounds dangerous? What if we do not find shelter? What if everyone we approach refuses us? What if we fail? What if he is disappointed in us? Power, grace, superiority, humility, excitement, fear?
The human spirit is made up of a labyrinth of emotions, feelings, thoughts that lead to decisions and actions. But I imagine one of the 12 stepping forward as a leader saying, stop it! We must stay focused, disciplined, quit overthinking, the instructions are clear. Is that not true for our own life.
Acknowledge and recognize our God given gifts, take the time to talk and listen to God, then stay focused, disciplined and follow. Use the gifts and talents as God intended.
I think of the many times in my own life when I have had this experience. God what should I do, are my gifts best used in this way? I am afraid and do not want this responsibility, what if I fail? How can I make this tough decision? Day to day decisions as well as major decisions. Staying in my chosen profession, getting married, having numerous children, staying in my current job, guiding my children, dealing with difficult situations with family or work?
I know that God has always been with me, I have in the course of my life ignored and not listened and ultimately my decision alone did not work out well, but when I listened, took a risk, stepped out in fear but with faith, it has been the right decision.