Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Jesus on Being Missional 5

Jesus told his missional Apostles not to take money, not to carry a beggar’s bag, and not even to take extra clothing and shoes — and then adds they are not to take a staff (probably a protective device).
There have been many interpretations of Jesus’ strong directions to the Apostles on what provisions on their missional journey. To begin with, the entire monastic tradition has taken them literally — and I think here of both St. Francis and St. Bonaventure. Another view sees Jesus distancing his followers from the Cynics, who did carry a “beggar’s bag.” So, it becomes a social statement and behavior that defines the group around Jesus.
The critical factor, so far as I read the text, is that Matthew 10:9-10a is explained in 10:10b (“for the the worker is worthy of his provisions”). In other words, missional work like this requires:
(1) trust in God,
(2) the protection of the Kingdom’s reputation by what it looks like, and
(3) assumption that God’s people will provide.
Missional work, then, is work done in dependence on God and for God’s glory and in the context of God’s good people. We might call these the foundation, the direction, and the condition of missional work: missional folk trust in God, they aim to please God in everything they do, and they inhabit the community.
There is a subtle issue that is as relevant now as it was then: money-grubbing is not part of God’s missional workers. Let me speak for the “workers” here: they deserve to be cared for and to provided for. They are, Jesus says, “worthy” of that.

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posted September 1, 2005 at 9:01 am

In what ways is Jesus’ injunction like (Gotama) Buddha’s? Didn’t he tell his monks to do something similar? (Don’t know about the “beggar’s bag,” but I know they rely on alms for food, etc.)

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posted September 1, 2005 at 9:57 am

As I am a person involved in the “missions” industry this a section of scripture that has been of interest. While we would both agree that the “worker” is worthy of their provision it begs the question then of the community being willing to “send” out and to “provide” for the needs. Does that mean entire needs, partial needs? Or does it mean an extended community (catholic/universal)? In todays world it is not a simple thing to deal with, however I believe that it is something that deserves our attention.
I would however rather ask the question, what is it that we do when we go out? And I would say that we don’t follow the example of Jesus very closely as we have pitted the spreading of the good news with the doing of good deeds against each other.
I really apprecite your insight Scot.

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Scot McKnight

posted September 1, 2005 at 5:46 pm

I’ll be posting on your question.
The issue of supplying needs by home and reception churches is outside my interest in this blog: more on what Jesus did say. Pragmatics are determinative here.

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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted September 1, 2005 at 8:28 pm

Likewise, how this plays itself out today is of particular interest to me, being part of a “missions agency”. I look forward to what is to come.

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