Sorry for the delay in our posts! We have [many] an excellent excuse - unfortunately, you will have to wait for our December newsletter to read all about it! (Insert shameless plug here: if you are not currently signed up to receive our bi-monthly newsletters, please email me with your preference - snail mail or email. Also, include the address to where you would like them sent!)
Today, we had the honor of leading a Bible study on Matthew 10 with a group of our youngest missionary partners - Mrs. McClane's 4th grade class at Knoxville Christian School! How ironic/convenient they are on this incredible section in Matthew where Jesus sent out His twelve apostles to "preach to the lost sheep". It is amazing how God can find a way to renew and refocus our spirits at just the right time! We have recently returned from over a month on the road and will soon depart again on a new adventure during and after the Thanksgiving holiday! We were in great need of this revitalizing lesson ourselves!
I have read through this section many times but never focusing on the symbolism the author Matthew places in this book. The first thing I noticed was that the chapter really begins with the section before, in Matthew 9: 35-38. Here Jesus sees the harassed and helpless people in the crowd and makes a beautiful statement: "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" (37-38). This is a great explanation/analogy for the great need of servants to spread God's word and I feel blessed to be called to do this great work in His name!
The section then goes on to describe the many things expected of the apostles: do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey or extra tunic, no sandals or a staff, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons, etc. I know God has asked Kevin and me as missionaries to rely on the people around us for support, but not to the extent of leaving everything behind! This is a humbling section for me! Can I be faithful enough to trust that God will provide everything for me or will I continue in my ways and try to plan, plan, plan?
The final part I wanted to mention is my favorite - Matthew 10:19-20, "When they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." At our meetings, Kevin and I are asked to explain why we feel called to missions and how do we know this is where God is calling us. My personal prayer before every meeting is what Matthew 10:19-20 clearly states. I ask God to speak through me so those with me can clearly see the work we are called to is an obvious calling from God. It is very reassuring to know Jesus told his apostles how God will speak through them. I know through faith, God will speak through us as well.