June 24th, 2017 by Erica Stephenson
"So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
Matthew 10:26-31 NIV
Jesus is giving this charge to 12 of his closest friends, who he calls apostles, as he is sending them out to proclaim His Kingdom. There is so much that can be said on the words surrounding this passage, but it seems like through it he is telling them that this journey will not be easy. This makes these words in the middle even more important ones. We are all too often reminded of how scary this world is. Whatever media you choose - Facebook, Twitter, watching the morning news, reading the newspaper, or talking to friends and family - the reminder is typically front and center.
How would we choose to live differently if we saw this news as a reality check, instead of a reason to seclude ourselves from the world? I'm talking about being acutely aware of what's going on all around us because we believe that we serve a living God. A God who is working all around us. A God who empowers us and sends us out to work alongside Him as light in the darkness. A God who says, "So do not be afraid...".
I see and hear about so many of us doing just this and am continually encouraged - figuring out where God is already at work and finding a way to enter into this work with Him. Where have you seen Him piercing the darkness with light recently? Who are your neighbors, your co-workers, your families, your friends at the community pool, your coffee shop friends, the cashier at the grocery store? What gives their life meaning? How has Christ met this need for you?
Jesus empowers his disciples here as he shares with them what they will experience as they go on this journey. In His kindness, He makes sure that they hear the words, "So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." And then, He gives them His power and sends them out.
This is why we have set up book clubs and movie clubs this summer, and why one of the 9:00 am Sunday School topics is on mentoring. This is why we went to Costa Rica, and are supporting Mission Interact. This is why we are hosting a summer intensive study on Jesus' parables and inviting kids and volunteer leaders to VBS. This is why we continue to hold Closer and the Men's Breakfast. Some of these opportunities are more being sent than being empowered, and others are more being empowered than being sent. They are all connected to one another.
This Sunday I'll be talking about what it looks like for us to be sent out in Christ's power to make Him known, just as He did with these disciples. I hope to see you there.