When my wife and I plan to take a road trip we usually pack 2 full size pieces of luggage with extra clothes, books to read, and any personal items we might need. Also we take along a cooler with drinks, bread and snacks, my camera bag, a laptop computer, extra shoes, pillows, jackets and even a small toaster oven for the motel room. We do like our creature comforts while on vacation!
But when Jesus sent the 12 apostles forth to proclaim the Kingdom He told them to travel light. He also said to them, “Freely you have received, freely give.” Later, Paul told the people at Ephesus that he worked with his hands to support himself and his team, so he too could freely share the message God had given to him. He remembered the words of the Lord Jesus, “that it is better to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:33-35).
Paul’s concern was always to not be a burden to the believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:6-10) During this Covid-19 crisis, I wonder if we could seriously think about how we could follow the examples of the 12 apostles, and later the 72 that Jesus sent forth. We too can travel light in our call to follow Him. (Matthew 10:7-10, Luke 10:1-4). I believe we could dramatically cut expenses that require so much of our time and effort to finance, in order to focus more on the real work of sharing Christ in creative and practical ways. At the same time this could relieve everyone from burdens that perhaps Christ never asked us to bear.
During this time, my heart goes out to churches in this country and all over the world. Is it possible that we have allowed ourselves to become more vulnerable than necessary by the accumulation of debt through trying to keep up with one another in grand programs and building expansions? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is costly in terms of love and devotion to Him and to one another. But should that cost include enterprises that actually distract us from this devotion?
How can we forget how freely we have received from Him, and not be willing to freely give away the sweet Good News of the Kingdom of God?