Matthew 10 is a familiar passage for us as we witness Jesus giving instructions to the disciples prior to sending them on a journey to share the Gospel. There is much to be gleaned from this passage, but I will focus on the first implication of the Lord’s instructions. As they evangelize, the Lord desires the disciples to rely on faith and discernment fully. One gift, not commonly discussed, is discernment. Discernment plays a vital role in our daily walk with the Lord and is very important when we move into uncharted territory.
Jesus does not want his disciples to depend on anyone who is not open to hearing the Good News. I am reminded of an experience from many years ago when I served on a Lay Witness Missions team. We traveled to churches throughout the Midwest and stayed in the homes of church members as we shared the Gospel at their church. One weekend we visited a church in Kentucky, and when three of us arrived at the home where we were to stay, I immediately recognized an atmospheric change the moment I crossed the threshold of this woman’s home.
It was 10PM at night; we had just finished the first meeting of the weekend. Our hostess had missed it, in order to make her home “ready” for us! While the house was physically clean, the atmosphere was charged, filled with anger and resentment. My friends needed to go to bed because their day began at 4:30 AM. I stepped ever so lightly through this woman’s difficult life story. When I felt her heart begin to open and desire to participate in the weekend, I knew I could go to bed. The next morning, our hostess greeted us with warmth and prepared a tasty breakfast. That day she received Christ. I learned later; my friends had been praying in their room, while our hostess and I visited. Careful discernment by each of us played an important part in a life changed for the Lord.
An online dictionary defines discernment “as the ability to judge well. In Christian contexts, it is the perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.” Both faith and discernment are needed to take advantage of the times (both Chronos and Kairos). As our Brother Scott Wiens so beautifully shared on Sunday, God gives both to us as gifts to add to the kingdom.
Following our Sunday morning service, Patty Clemons delivered a spontaneous poem the Lord gave her to bring hope to the Widows and Widowers group. If she had not had the faith to know the Lord would fill her mouth, the group would not have heard the beautiful words of life and comfort the Lord spoke over them.
Daily opportunities are brought before us; we can miss them if we are not drawing from the Holy Spirit and not discerning the “times” God affords. We are “Sent Ones” just like the Apostles. During the Christmas season, hearts are hurting and yearning for truth. This is a beautiful time to seize daily opportunities to bring hope and a future to those we meet through the day. Will you be one of God’s Sent Ones today bringing faith and hope to a dying world? The opportunity is yours!