Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
— no food, no sack, no money in their belts. (Mk 6:7-8)
Jesus gave His followers very good advice. But, of course He would. He was God!
The advice He gave really cut to the heart of what it meant to be a disciple. It meant a radical trust in God, a believe that God would supply whatever was needed.
In Jesus’ day, travel was extremely difficult. We have a hard time imagining it because travel in our day and age is very easy. If we want to go somewhere, we jump in our car and get there rapidly. If the distance is farther, we jump on a plane. A trip from here to England takes seven hours. A trip to the Holy Land takes eleven hours. A trip to the Philippines takes nearly twenty-four hours. Still, we’re talking hours not days or weeks or months.
At the time of Jesus, we would be talking days. And the journey often would be over hot desert sands not paved roads.
If a journey would take several days and in harsh conditions, the admonition to take nothing but a walking stick would seem incredibly harsh. However, when one went totally “unprepared”, that person would be reliant on God in a way that would not be able to be accomplished if the person left provisioned. If a person took along many things, that person would tend to trust in himself rather than in God.
The times that people experience God most powerfully in their lives seem to be when people have nothing. When they are poor or powerless or abandoned or lacking hope, they are empty vessels into which God can — and does — pour graces and gifts.
Are you facing something extremely difficult in your life or in your faith life? Try not to provision yourself. Instead, try to empty yourself as completely as possible so that God can fill you with what you need. Trust Him. You really need nothing except the Lord.
FAITH ACTION: Ask the Lord to help you divest yourself of anything that holds you back from being as united to God as you can be.