Dusty Shoes, Nasty Blogs, And A Call To Missions
Posted: Monday, June 27
2 Kings 10:32-12:21
Verse of the day:
Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike. (Acts 18:4 NLT)
The command to “shake the dust off your feet” appears four times in the New Testament. The first three examples appear in synoptic passages in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The fourth is here in Acts. Paul is living in Corinth, working with Aquila and Priscilla, and preaching at the synagogue. He is pleading the message of Christ to unbelieving Gentiles and unbelieving Jews. The Gentiles respond. The Jews do not. Acts 18:6 explains, “But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, ‘Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.’” Paul quits, and he walks away.
I read a nasty blog this morning. A self-proclaimed prophet was using Acts 18 to defend her choice to leave her church and commandeer the spiritual high ground. Her objections were a myriad of concerns for the modern church—social boundaries, church discipline, and pastoral leadership. In her defense, her concerns seemed legitimate. Every church should be challenged to improve the handling of these complicated subjects. I believe, however, that when she turned to Acts 18, she lost her way. Where is Paul preaching in Acts 18? He’s not at the ‘church’ of Corinth. He’s at the synagogue—a place where people did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Paul isn’t walking away from a church. He’s walking away from unbelievers. God never gives us permission to abandon our faith community when times get tough. He challenges us to lift each other up in prayer, to forgive, and to sharpen each other as iron sharpens iron.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record the commissioning of the disciples. God calls them to travel from city to city with nothing but the clothes on their back. When a town refuses, they are instructed to “shake the dust off your feet.” Why? Because we shouldn’t waste precious time banging on closed doors. There are too many places in this world that would hear if someone would only go. There are too many people in this world that would listen if someone would only tell them. We can’t waste time throwing dusty shoes at God’s people. Let’s encourage each other. Let’s challenge each other, and let’s tell the world about Jesus.