Lent & Advent

Advent 2021: A Season Of Healing And Hope – December 4

Jim Hopkins

December 3, 2021

A Momentous Business Trip

Alean Saunders-Coffey
(Dr. Alean Saunders-Coffey, a member of Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, is a poet, essayist, composer of hymns and prayers) 

1 When Jesus had called the Twelve
            together, he gave them power
            and authority to drive out all demons
            and to cure diseases,
2 and he sent them out to preach the
kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
3 He told them:  Take nothing for the
            journey—no staff, no bag, no bread,
            no money, no extra tunic.

4 Whatever house you enter, stay there
            until you leave town.
5 If people do not welcome you, shake
            the dust off your feet when you leave
their town, as a testimony against

6 So they set out and went from village to
            village, preaching the gospel and
            healing people everywhere.

Luke 9:1-6 (NIV)

In this passage, Jesus equips His disciples with power and authority before sending them on an urgent mission to help restore Israel to God.  Essential lessons about trust in God’s provision are reinforced, as they are obliged to “take nothing for the journey.”  The twelve devotees must live each day by faith.

Today’s scripture reminds me of times when my work responsibilities included business travel.  I was entrusted to deliver messages that were consistent with my organization’s goals, mission and objectives.  There were occasions when I met individual and group resistance—especially if the information I presented required people to change current operational practices or personal behaviors.  Nevertheless, my manager’s expectation was that I would complete the assignment as planned, and resolve emergent issues, problems and concerns.

As I made arrangements for airline travel, ground transportation and hotel stays, I had to consider potential weather delays, missed flights and connections, time zone changes, and unfamiliar surroundings.  And, it never occurred to me to venture away from home for an extended stay without a purse, briefcase, suitcase or travel bag.  Typically, I did not use everything I brought with me.  However, I presumed, ‘what if…?’ 

As chronicled in Verse 3, the disciples were given unequivocal instructions to go without plans or provisions.  They were to accept hospitality and depend upon the kindness of others.  They were required to remain at the place where they were first received, and were instructed to leave behind those who did not welcome their message and program.

I ponder whether the disciples’ previous ‘business trips’ had been guided by these same requirements?  Were they apprehensive about relying on God’s Provision?  Did they voice any concerns?  Or, did they indisputably trust their leader’s instruction—and themselves? 

Upon further reflection, I believe the disciples unhesitatingly accepted their roles and responsibilities because of these defining principles:

  1. Preparation.  They were entrusted with the power and authority of Jesus to preach the gospel and perform miracles.  Their credibility was established prior to leaving on the journey.
  2. Trust.  They were assured of Jesus’ leadership and had complete trust in His guidance and direction.
  3. Experience.  As committed members of His team, they had accompanied Jesus during His ministry and were familiar with the results of His work.
  4. Confidence.  They moved forward in unison and understood that God would be with them enroute and at each destination.  They believed in themselves and their team’s abilities to carry out the assignments they were given.

In this Advent Season of Healing and Hope, these passages offer us abundant wisdom.  We can begin by taking time to be still, to listen closely for God’s voice, to hear what He expects of us.  As people of faith, we can commit to ‘traveling light’ and relinquishing some of the ‘baggage’ of fear, discomfort, guilt, shame, rejection, hurt and pain we carry.  We can trust in The Creator’s Master Plan, by accepting His direction for our lives.

In doing these things, we will be better able to live fully in the present, focus on our intentions, and realize the wonderful blessings that are ours to receive.