With Only Sandals and a Walking Stick
In Mark 6:7-12, Jesus sent His 12 disciples out to do a mission without Him. He sent them in groups of two and gave them power over evil spirits. He tells them to take nothing for their journey except a “stick for walking” and the sandals and clothes they were wearing. No money. No extra clothes. No food. No suitcases packed with conveniences. Later, in Luke 22:35, Jesus reminded the disciples of this trip. When He asked them, “Did you lack anything?” they replied, “Nothing.”
Sure, you can look at this passage of scripture and see an example of trusting in God's ability to supply needs. When I looked at it, I thought of all the ordinary people, doing ordinary things, that helped the disciples be able to do the extraordinary. God doesn't call all of us to travel the world witnessing for Him. But He does tell us to do all we can as if we were doing it for Him (Colossians 3:23). We need to be willing to trust God's provision for our needs, but we also need to be willing to be part of God's provision for others.
How did the disciples go on their mission and be able to say, when they returned, that they lacked nothing? They left with only the clothes on their back, 1 pair of sandals and a walking stick! Can you imagine leaving for a trip with only what they had? And no money?! When our family leaves for two days, it looks like we are moving out of the house. How did they do it? They trusted God would provide. And, God prompted others to care for them as they went on their way. In Mark 6:10, Jesus told them to enter a house and stay there until they left that town. Someone had to be the one to open up their home. The following scenarios are all in my imagination. There is no scripture to back them up. I am not trying to give false teachings! So, remember the following is made up...
Maybe Sue was out sweeping the steps and noticed the disciples were hungry and fed them. Tom might have been working on leather in his barn when he noticed their sandals needed mending and actually took the time to repair them. Maybe Sally was taking down clean clothes off the clothesline and noticed they needed new garments and gave them her husband's to wear. Just ordinary people, doing ordinary things, that listened to the whisper and became part of the extraordinary by being God's hand and provision to the disciples.
Have you heard the whispers of the Holy Spirit during your ordinary day, doing the same old ordinary things? God may be using you to be part of the extraordinary. Witnessing to the homeless guy that you've walked past dozens of times could lead him to Jesus and have him reunite with his family. That would be extraordinary. Teaching the 4th grade Sunday School Class and investing in the life of a child who grows up to pastor a church, possibly leading 100s to Christ? That's extraordinary. Supporting missionaries as they risk their lives to bring people to Jesus? That's extraordinary.
I can remember a distinct time that I heard that whisper. I think about it often, mainly because I didn't listen to it. I was in an average priced women's clothing store picking out some new outfits. I came out of the dressing room for my husband to give the thumbs up or thumbs down and I ran into a young lady twisting and turning in front of the mirror. She asked me if her outfit looked good. She explained that she had a job interview coming up and didn't have a lot of extra money to spend, but she wanted to look presentable. She was hoping to get that job to take care of her new baby. I told her she looked lovely and went back into the dressing room. I overheard her conversation with the clerk at the sales desk. She was asking to put the clothes behind the counter for 24 hours so she could somehow come up with the money to pay for them. The whisper came. “Pay for the clothes. Use the money you brought in here to buy more things you don't need.” I don't know why I didn't listen. My heart was pounding the whole time I was paying. I knew what I needed to do. But, I didn't. I often wonder what difference I could have made in her life if I would have bought those clothes for her.
I have gotten better over the past couple years listening to that voice. I have seen people cry over things I gave or did, thinking it wasn't that great. But it was just what they needed and had prayed to God about. When my sons' school let out for Spring Break last year, they issued a challenge to do something kind for someone you encountered on your trip. We ended up going to a beach in Florida for the week. There was one particular woman that worked in the Tiki Bar that was always smiling and going the extra mile. She never sat still. Even if no one was at the restaurant. She was always cleaning something up or checking on guests of the hotel. I knew she was the one we needed to be kind to. And I wanted our boys to be the ones to do it. They gave her some money we had saved to give away on the trip. She burst into tears. It wasn't a fortune. But, she had been in the hospital the week before and had been praying about how to make up the money. We were able to provide that for her, without knowing her story. And when she said, with tears in her eyes, “God always takes care of me”, I knew I had heard my “whisper” correctly. Extraordinary can mean many different things when it comes to what makes up God's plan. It can be big or small. Kind of extraordinary or world-changing extraordinary. Let's try to be brave enough to join in on whatever part God is calling us to do. Let's take the time to carry out those whispers God may be gently speaking to us. And, let's remember to remain humble and give God all the glory. Be willing to be part of God's provision for others. You never know what extraordinary journey God may be sending them on.