Usually Jesus "showed" rather than "told" his disciples how to do God's work. But one time He sat them down and gave them specific, detailed guidelines. As Matthew looked back on those privileged days, he recalled some of the most profound principles of doing mission that Scripture records.
YOU HAVE A MESSAGE TO GIVE
"The Kingdom of Heaven is near" (Matthew 10:6). The message God has given you is simple, clear. Jesus brings heaven near to each one of us; His presence is real and His help is personal. What's more--you are a representative of such a kingdom, a personal ambassador assigned as a living witness to each person you meet.
SHARE WHAT YOU'VE EXPERIENCED
“Give as freely as you have received" (Matthew 10:8). God sends you out to meet the people around you for Him; but you can’t share what you haven’t experienced personally yourself. But when you are living what others need, your outreach will connect. And it will be personal, natural--and convicting in the Holy Spirit's care.
EVALUATE THE RESPONSE
“Identify the worthy person" (Matthew 10:11). Determine the response of those you meet and invest your time and energy in relationships that are open to your witness and influence. It’s OK if some reject you. God will not give up on them, but you can move on. Some were saved even out of Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16). Don’t be naïve as to the challenges you will meet; you are in enemy territory. At the same time, be perceptive of the opportunities that open even in the middle of opposition.
TRUST THE HOLY SPIRIT’S GUIDANCE
“God will give you the right words…and it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you" (Matthew 10:20). Your own resources--cloak, staff, food supply, and anything else you might depend on--are not what will sustain you. On your own you will not know what to do or say, either. But you can depend on the Holy Spirit to provide what you need. He will work through you and accomplish what He chooses.
“Endure to the end" (Matthew 10:22). The one requirement for making it through the challenges you meet is endurance. Persistence, courage, hope, faithfulness, conviction, vision that is fed by God's Spirit and take you through the challenges even in the face of opposition and persecution.
DO NOT FEAR, DO NOT FEAR, DO NOT FEAR
“Don’t be afraid of those who threaten you" (Matthew 10:26). The repeated instruction not to fear--three times--assumes there’s much that can look fearful. But the assurance Jesus points you to is that God knows you. He values you. He understands all that you are experiencing. He promises that, more than His care for all the sparrows, nothing will happen to you without His attention and involvement.
“Acknowledge me publicly" (Matthew 10:32). This mission is not about you, your comfort, your success, or your sense of fulfillment. This is all about Jesus. You are simply representing Him in front of the world around you. You will meet opposition, rejection, persecution. For Him. When you feel successful and you sense your work has been effective, remember that the affirmation and praise is for the Father, and in His responsive heart He accepts and values what you have done, and your faithful, humble service. --KL