Section Three: The Lifestyle Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic One: Having A Servant’s Heart.
Our reading for today: Luke 9: 1-6 (MsgB)
Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God’s Kingdom and heal the sick. He said, “Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment. And no luxury inns—get a modest place and be content there until you leave. If you’re not welcomed, leave town. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and move on.” Commissioned, they left. They traveled from town to town telling the latest news of God, the Message, and curing people everywhere they went.
Some say the Church was birthed on that amazing day of Pentecost in 33 AD, when the Holy Spirit swooped down upon a gathered group of unsuspecting disciples who were praying together in the upper room. (See Acts 2) I suppose, to a degree, this is an accurate historical assessment. Indeed, from this point forward, the Church, now established under the leadership of Peter (the Rock) and the other apostles, began to gather others unto itself, with over 5,000 people coming into the fold on that one day alone.
Yet, as I see it, our passage today in Luke 9, which records that first day Jesus sent a group of twelve friends out to do His ministry, is the true beginnings of what I believe Jesus had in His mind when He was forming His ministry team we now call the Church of Jesus Christ. My mentor, John Wimber, felt so strongly about this, he would often turn to this passage in Luke 9, and add a second one, located just a page over in Luke 10: 1-23, and say that Jesus’ true commissioning of His Church begins right here as He sends out the twelve, and then the seventy-two, giving them all very clear instructions on what to do and what to say as they go in His name.
But here’s the rub.
You see, it’s much easier for us, as followers of Christ, to go out in Jesus’ name and form churches, build buildings, hold church meetings, and collect offerings than it is to actually go out “to deal with all the demons and cure diseases” (Luke 9: verse 1). It’s much more compatible to our comfort zones to go and gather folks into buildings, instructing them to sit politely in rows while we offer sermons about Jesus than it is for us to actually go into the world “to preach the news of God’s Kingdom and heal the sick” (Luke 9: verse 2). And in a world that’s rapidly going to hell in a handbasket, it’s much more satisfying for us devout Christians to criticize and point fingers at the bad folks who don’t like us, rather than obeying Jesus’ command to “Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and move on.” (Luke 9: verse 5).
You see, in all truthfulness, it’s really hard to follow the commission of Jesus we find here in Luke 9. As one good friend of mine likes to say, “If it were easy, Marty, everybody would be doing it!”
Yet, maybe that’s why Jesus gave us this important piece of advice in the midst of His powerful commission…
“Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment. (Luke 9: verse 3)
Hmm. This line of text makes me think of the contemporary acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) which was first coined by U.S. Navy senior officer and lead aircraft engineer, Kelly Johnson, back in 1960 in order to keep his engineering team on track as they were designing some of the most highly-advanced, highly-technical spy planes known to mankind! Too bad the Church of Jesus Christ didn’t have a handful of engineers like Kelly Johnson over the last two-thousand years as it expanded its influence from being a small group of 120 disciples gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem to now over 2.2 billion followers world-wide!
So let me insert a modest proposal here as we continue this part of our blog series on discipleship. How about if we servants of Christ recover Johnson’s acronym (K.I.S.S.), reword it just a bit, and make it the mode of operation for those of us who truly desire to stop “doing church as usual” while returning to Jesus’ original recipe for ministry given here in Luke 9: 1-6?
K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple & Sustainable.
Sounds pretty good to me. For heaven’s sake!
My prayer: Jesus I confess that it’s much easier, and much less threatening, to do church our way than it is for us to follow Your specific commission spelled out in Luke 9. I’ve become comfortable with my present reality of church life, while ignoring Your commission given us here in God’s Word. Change me and continue challenging me to go back to Your original recipe while we (K)eep (I)t (S)imple & (S)ustainable. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So where have I left Jesus’ commission found here in Luke 9 and decided to follow my own good ideas of serving Jesus? What needs to change in both my attitude and actions as I go out, in His name and in His commission, as a servant of Living God?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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