Take Nothing

Scripture selection: Luke 9:1

“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, and no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.”

In the course of Jesus’ public ministry, the time finally came to send out some of his closest followers to expand his ministry even further.  He didn’t do this until he had demonstrated his power and authority over the material and spiritual world.  He had calmed storms, cast out demons, healed, and raised the dead.  Now, amazingly, it was their turn.  So he “gave them power and authority” and sent them on their way.

There is one other very significant thing he did in sending them out.  He sent them out empty handed.  No bag, no bread, no money, no extra clothes, none of the things we thing so essential to our own daily survival.

Why?  They had to travel on faith.

We too are at our strongest, spiritually speaking, when we rely on God’s power and authority rather than our own.  Our resources are ultimately no match for the greatest challenges we might face in life.

On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing in heaven or on earth that is comparable to God’s awesome power.

So, in faith, we are sent – just as Jesus followers have been sent through the ages.

We are to share the good news, bring healing and hope, stand boldly against evil, and do the work of the kingdom – with nothing more in hand than God’s power.

Which, of course, is more than enough.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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