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how we live our values?

June 24, 2017

the marks of a missional posture.

well the title sounds like something out of an academic essay that I would have written for a FORGE assignment, but the thinking for my blogs over the next five days came from spending some time out thinking about the story where Jesus sends his followers out to go and do the stuff that they had been watching him do. (Luke 9). Jesus does the opposite of what we expect in a way which is still shocking to me as I read it! Instead of the expected, “have you got your toothbrush”, “don’t forget your passport”, “are you sure you’ve not forgotten anything” approach, he turns this on his head. Sure – Jesus gives them the kit list, but it is a list of what to leave behind!

The list is five items long, and this prompted my curiosity. why does Jesus give a list at all – instead of just saying “travel light, ditch everything you don’t need”? As I allowed these five things to peculate in my brain I began to realise that these are five keys to the values and posture that we need to go to our neighbours with the good news of the Kingdom of God. Over the next five days I will explore these five things one by one.

first up on the list is “take no staff”. Of course Jesus is not talking about a company away day but the old fashioned pole or stick that people leaned on. Moses famously used his to do miracles like opening the Red Sea! My first thought was of the staff as being something that supports us – but this is a modern view, back then the staff was used as a weapon. Used well and skilfully it would disarm a group of bandits, and the bible gives us the picture of David defending his sheep against bears with his staff!

So what does it mean to take nothing for defending ourselves? It means we go as people who are vulnerable, who choose not to defend ourselves when provoked or attacked. To intentionally choose to listen first and to listen well. Let me tell you that is way harder to live than to write. As we go through life there are people who are different to us, they may ridicule or attack us – they may think our faith is weird, or simply not understand us or be on our wavelength.

At those points it is easy to be defensive, to stop listening and to try to correct wrong thinking. Or to fit in, and be accepted, by colluding, agreeing just for the sake of not causing problems, Or to just go quiet and try not to be noticed. But what Jesus seems to be saying here is that we should be honest and vulnerable in our conversations. And that demands that we act with all the courage we can muster. To speak truth as we see it, while still respecting the person who has a different view; to be honest about how we feel and what we think without defending ourselves.

Jesus is not afraid to invite us to live honestly as he tells us to leave our defensive staff behind.



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