Working at a local coffee shop means I’m regularly bombarded with creative combinations for lattes, smoothies, and more. Many an interaction from behind the counter begins with “Is it possible to…” or “Do you guys have…” followed by what sometimes sounds like the secret recipe for the best beverage ever, and other times … not the best. Generally, though, my job is not to question the logic behind the order – I clarify, then do as I’m told, after scribbling down a series of letters which serve as instructions that only make sense to me.
So when I read Matthew 10, I can’t help but wonder if the disciples felt something similar – hearing instructions: some of which sound like Jesus is giving them the secret recipe to what he’s been up to the whole time, others of which sound like a great way to get chased out of town fast. It’s no secret to the disciples that they are not in for a popular mission – one only has to look at the treatment of the prophets in the Old Testament to know that bringing the kingdom isn’t always met with the same enthusiasm and excitement from which it is preached (check out the reading from Jeremiah 38 for just one of many examples of this). In fact, Jesus is pretty straightforward in telling them that they will be hated because of his name (v22).
Yet this coming kingdom – popular or not; desired by the peoples or not – certainly seems to be of great importance to the writer of Matthew and to Jesus himself; so much so that Matthew records Jesus speaking of the coming kingdom of heaven 28 times in his record of the gospel alone. This kingdom is coming; this kingdom has come, and the disciples’ job is to invite others in on the deal. In the chapters leading up to this ridiculous, sacred, impossible, and blessed commission, the disciples have watched the kingdom come before their eyes. They watched lepers healed with a touch, the lame walk, and demons flee. And now they’re being told to go; to both preach and heal, to let peace reign, and to freely give in the same way they received. The logistics behind it all don’t add up – either this is insanity, or this is God himself.
And I wonder where that finds you. I wonder if you’re being called into a season you don’t understand – a yes, a no, a dream shattered or a hope fulfilled – if you’re wondering where you fit, or even where He fits. His calling is for you; the kingdom is near to you.
Perhaps you are longing to see the kingdom come; your heart burns and aches to be used in the nations, and it feels like there aren’t any doors being opened to you. His calling is for you; the kingdom is near to you.
Maybe His instructions excite you, or maybe they confuse you to a point of despair. His calling is for you; the kingdom is near to you.
Perhaps you are bored with where you are at in life and are just marking the days to retirement, graduation, or vacation. His calling is for you; the kingdom is near to you.
How we respond to His leading is influenced by who we believe Him to be. May your heart know Him as God today; a God worthy of trusting, of obeying, and of proclaiming; beyond logistics, beyond sight, beyond comprehension.