November 17, 2012
And He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff -- no bread, no bag, no money in their belts -- but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. Mark 6:7-9
The picture is a familiar one. The runners clothed in shorts, shirts and shoes are lined up ready to begin.
Then comes a sight which is not so familiar. Another fellow staggers up to the starting blocks. This fellow is fully clothed. He is wearing a suit, overcoat, boots, gloves and a wool cap. In one hand is a bag filled with a mega-meal from a fast-food place, and the other is holding an umbrella. His pockets are packed with bandages, medicines, surgical masks and gloves.
When asked if he is seriously in this race, he looks offended.
The man answers, "Indeed I am. It is a long race, and you just never know what is going to happen. I have -- to the best of my ability -- tried to be prepared for any eventuality. If it's warm, I can divest myself of coat and hat ... but if it's cold, I'm ready and these other runners are not."
The man may be running a race, but he's not running it seriously and, although I'm not a gambling man, I'd bet he's not going to win. If he's going to be a serious contender, he needs to get down to basics.
That's what the Lord asks of His people too. When the Savior sent out the 12, He told them to go with the necessities. He said pretty much the same when the 72 were sent to canvass some of the towns in Galilee. It was Jesus' way of saying, "You need to depend on the Lord."
Again and again that lesson is taught to Scripture's heroes. Abraham had to get down to basics and show the Lord is more important than his son. Paul had to get down to basics and believe God's grace was sufficient for Him.
The Lord knew if we waited until we were prepared for all the difficulties we might face, we'd never take a step toward the work He has given us. That's why He wants us to trust Him for help no matter the situation or circumstance.
And what is that work? Nothing less than telling a lost world the Son of God, the Savior of the world had successfully redeemed us, rescued us and restored us. Through the sacrifice of His life, we have been given forgiveness, faith and a forever future in heaven.
Now I'm sharing this topic in one of our weekender devotions. That's because most folks have a little bit more free time on Saturday and Sunday. If you do, I'd like you to think for a bit and see if there's anything slowing you down from running the race God has placed before you.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You had to teach the heroes of the Bible to depend completely on You. It is a lesson that needs to be taught to every saved soul. I pray I might learn and then successfully run the race and do the work You have given me. This I ask, dear Lord, in the Name of Jesus, my Savior. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries