Our scripture this week is Matthew 9:35 – 10:8.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
Jesus tells the disciples what they are to do and gives them what may be the most important instruction of all – “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). The gift of God has been given to us without reservation and we are to share it in the same way. Jesus wants us to tell of God’s love without expectations, to honestly share what we have experienced, speaking of our relationship with Him without thought of success or gain.
This is a difficult thing for people. Human society has long been focused on “what’s in it for me?” and this is not the witness God intends for us. We are called to share simply because God has blessed us and while these gifts are far beyond anything we deserve, He gives them just because He loves us.
This is the message Jesus wants us to carry to all our brothers and sisters. God is love and His goodness is in all of us. We are part of His plan for saving the lost and by freely giving the gift He gave us, we may truly receive salvation.
Gracious God, we are amazed that Your love is given to us even when we stray. Help us to be strong in our connection to You and share Your glory everywhere. Amen.