… shake the dust from your feet. (Luke 9:5)
My mom used to have a famous line. She’d pull it out any time I was trying to make a big decision or plan something. Instead of telling me what to do, she would say, “Well, you could do that, but then what happens if …” She would let me think and ponder and look at different sides of the issue. She might repeat that statement a dozen times as I worked my way through the possibilities. She taught me to think about the possibilities and the consequences and then she let me see them through.
She was such a wise woman! Today it seems that there is no shortage of folks who want to tell each of us exactly what we should believe and do and think and support. I’m beginning to see two really big problems with that. First, they aren’t offering balanced information steeped in truth and mercy, and second, too many folks are letting others do their thinking for them, believing anything they hear.
As I’ve prayed and ached a little over the past couple of weeks about things happening in the news, I was searching for some truth and peace. As always, God pointed me to a passage I’d read dozens of times, but He helped me see it with different eyes. The passage is from Luke’s Gospel and it brought peace and clarity to the mess filling up my news feed. When Jesus sent out the disciples, their job was to bring the message of love, peace, and hope. They weren’t asked to beat people with a stick until they believed exactly what they told them to believe. They were speaking truth and planting seeds. All too often today if someone doesn’t believe what we believe, things turn twenty shades of ugly!
Jesus told the disciples if they and the peace they brought with them was not accepted or welcomed they were to shake the dust from their feet and move on. Nowhere in this Gospel did Jesus tell them to stay and beat folks silly until they agreed. He didn’t instruct the disciples to shame, belittle, or humiliate them: just shake the dust and move along. He also didn’t teach them to move to the next house and badmouth the place they weren’t welcomed. It was a simple, gentle motion: Shake and go. But before they shook and left, they gave the peace of Christ. It made me wonder how many times we get into an argument and desire the other person’s holiness or offer them the peace of Christ?
The other thing that struck me was the dust. Dust is dirt, right? And things grow in dirt right? So while they gently shook the dust and moved past, what was left in the dust? The disciples left in that dust seeds of peace, seeds of compassion, seeds of gentleness. As they quietly slipped away they demonstrated what Christ taught us: Love one another. I wonder how many times the disciples shook the dust from their sandals and those left behind were inspired by their example of gentleness and non-judgement? I wonder how many people pondered on it and changed their attitude or behavior? I wonder how many through the seeds left in the dust actually came to follow Jesus after all?
As I’ve prayed with this Gospel for several days I’m reminded of that famous line from St. Teresa of Calcutta: The thing that needs to change most in this world if it is to be more peaceful and Christ like is ME! I suppose it would be a great idea if we did a little more dust-shaking and less tongue-wagging and finger-pointing. And I know I need to work harder at desiring the holiness of all those people in the news making me crazy. My words for the week …shake, peace, and plant seeds of hope in the dust!
A Seed To Plant: Read Luke 9:1-6 and see if the Lord has some direction for you in regards to creating peace on earth.
Blessings on your day!
Copyright 2018 Sheri Wohlfert