By Benedict Augustine
“Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.”
After spending so much time with His disciples, enlightening them on the gospel, guiding them by example, praying with them and for them, Jesus finally sends off the twelve to go and share the gospel with others. Asking them to take nothing extra and entrusting them with miraculous powers, Jesus has complete confidence in their ability to save souls in His name. The disciples presumably share the same confidence, never even looking back and wondering whether it might be wise to at least bring a little money for an inn should something not work. Apparently, they have left doubt behind along with all their other possessions.
How different this is from the daily departures people make today for their jobs! People insist on carrying so many things with them and think nothing of using all their spare hands and shoulders to holdanother bag, or strap, or cup, or handle. On top of this, they have their smartphones which themselvescarry a whole world of information and services. Far from exhibiting the breezy confidence of the disciples, most working adults are plagued with anxiety and doubt. They pack meals, wardrobes, reading materials, writing utensils, electronic equipment, cosmetics, rolodexes, and personal protection, all so that they can make it to the mailbox with peace of mind.
Besides turning people into beasts of burden, this doubt also turns people’s houses into storage units. Although some people might desire to possess things that will earn praise among visitors or that will offer lasting pleasure, more people simply desire to possess things because it makes them feel safe. The boxes of junk in the garage, the ugly furniture in the front room in the empty bedroom, the unused exercise machines covered with cobwebs and dust,the “survival food” bursting out of the pantry and cabinets, the heaps of tools for that one repair, and the toys that a child once played with so many decades ago, all go towards making a person feel secure and oriented.
Doubt and fear often drive consumption, and it is sin that drives this doubt and fear. Sin signifies absence, an absence of God and thus an absence of goodness.Sin empties the fullness of the inner life so that it can fill the settings of the outer life. In other words, the emptiness of sin will fill one’s life with things; the lack of goodness in the heart will create a surfeit of goods in the house. This is the meaning of materialism. Material goods stand in for truth (scientism), moral excellence (capitalism), or happiness (socialism).
As a person confesses his sins and recovers his soul, he will often confront this host of doubts that have accumulated in his heart—much like the junk that accumulate in the garage. With the sin removed, the foundation upholding this bad habit of acquisition and hoarding is exposed in all its ugliness. The truth is clear: all one really needs is God, and so many things one has come to depend are superfluous.
People today marvel at the recklessness of Jesus and His disciples simply starting their mission withoutgiving it a second thought. In order to rationalize this attitude, they think that Jesus only intended these twelve to do such a thing, not other Christians,or that he means this metaphorically; but it would make more sense to think that Jesus really intends this advice for all his followers and in a literal way in addition to a spiritual one.
All Christians should live light, and they should pack light as they leave their homes each day. Only this will open them up to their neighbor and create opportunities to share the gospel, a gospel whichstates that God will provide so the quest for things should not worry anyone. The simple life of a Christian disciple and the joy it brings can be powerful lure to those entangled with so many things. Most people are all too familiar with the stress and futility brought on my so many things. A good cleaning is in order.
Knowing this, Jesus sends all Christians out to free others as they free themselves.