“It’s time for you 70 to go. I’m sending you out armed with vulnerability, like lambs walking into a pack of wolves. Don’t bring a wallet. Don’t carry a backpack. I don’t even want you to wear sandals. Walk along barefoot, quietly, without stopping for small talk. When you enter a house seeking lodging, say, ‘Peace on this house!’ If a child of peace—one who welcomes God’s message of peace—is there, your peace will rest on him. If not, don’t worry; nothing is wasted. Stay where you’re welcomed. Become part of the family, eating and drinking whatever they give you. You’re My workers, and you deserve to be cared for. Again, don’t go from house to house, but settle down in a town and eat whatever they serve you. Heal the sick and say to the townspeople, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’” (Luke 10:3-9, The Voice).
Don’t take a wallet (money). Don’t wear any shoes? No suitcase (backpack). No change of clothes. No small talk. No shopping. Pronounce a blessing upon those who feed and house you. Speak judgment against those who don’t receive your message. Really?
Why do you think Jesus set such strict parameters?
Mike Wilkins of Sermon Central says, “I love that little turn that Brian McLaren puts into this translation: that Jesus sends them out ‘Armed with vulnerability.’ It is a paradox, and counterintuitive both—usually when we interact with people around us, we want to do so from a place of power: Either we can show that we have our lives together, or we are good at something, or we have something to offer. As Christians heading out to ‘evangelize,’ we want to come with a certain amount of strength, but Jesus sends his people out in weakness!”
“You are sent into your neighborhood, your workplace, your school, your home in the same way—armed with vulnerability. It is almost as if you say to yourself, ‘I have nothing to offer these people, that you are better off than if you thought that you personally had a lot to offer. It is when you realize that all you have is God to offer that he can really use you!’”
Evidentially approaching people from positions of vulnerability increases our chance that they will actually listen to what we have to say. Somehow, if they help us, as we share with them, no one is speaking down to the other.
Rich DuBose writes from Northern California.