Jesus said to the twelve, “As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:7-16
My husband Mark has been visiting with me here in Montana. It is the season when people from all over the world come to see the parks, the wild animals and the majestic scenery. It is a real gift to live and serve here where there is so much unspoiled beauty. And yet, humans are the biggest threat to our wild world. We are the ravenous wolves who want to take for ourselves, disregarding others. We are rarely humble enough to recognize the danger we put others in with our ravenous appetites.
Jesus was sending the disciples out to serve the world. His sending instructed them (and us) to be wise but remain sheep among the wolves. Our needs and appetites can never be our motivation, otherwise we can become hungry wolves. Our gentleness and humility must be visible, living and real. We are called to be loving in the face of greed and wise enough to name it, and walk away from all that tempts us.
Today, I ask God to help me remain gentle and loving in the face of pushy and selfish people. May we set aside greed and anger in our lives so that God's love might shine in a desparate world.