Jesus sent these twelve out and commanded them, “Don’t go among the Gentiles or into a Samaritan city. Go instead to the lost sheep, the people of Israel. As you go, make this announcement: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, and throw out demons. You received without having to pay. Therefore, give without demanding payment. Workers deserve to be fed, so don’t gather gold or silver or copper coins for your money belts to take on your trips. Don’t take a backpack for the road or two shirts or sandals or a walking stick. Whatever city or village you go into, find somebody in it who is worthy and stay there until you go on your way. When you go into a house, say, ‘Peace!’ If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if the house isn’t worthy, take back your blessing. If anyone refuses to welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet as you leave that house or city. I assure you that it will be more bearable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on Judgment Day than it will be for that city. (Matthew 10:5-15, CEB)
The interesting thing about this passage for me, as if there is only one, is the command. Don’t go to the Gentiles or Samaria. Go to those who are a part of our tribe and tell them what you know, curing the ill and raising the dead. Jesus told the 12 to cure diseases and raise the dead. There is no account of this happening.
And then Jesus tells them, if the people you go to will not listen, then shake the dust from their house off your feet, don’t bring it with you, but leave. If they refuse to listen or welcome you, just leave. Don’t waste your time. That is a hard pill to swallow. Because as a follower of Christ I honestly want everyone to hear and everyone to understand that Jesus loves them and that they are a child of God. But it may not be my place to tell them. I can not connect with everyone. I am not everyone’s cup of tea. (If you have ever met me in person you know this is true!) I can not convince anyone that God loves them. Only God can do that. I can share God’s love and grace if people will let me, if they won’t why should I waste their time and mine?
Loving people is knowing when they will listen and when they will not. Loving God is when we follow and do what God has told us to do.
Loving People. Loving God.