Friday after the Transfiguration of our Lord
Scripture: St. Matthew 10:1-16 (NKJV)
1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, 10 nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. 11 Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. 12 And when you go into a household, greet it. 13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!
16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! The servants of God are sent to proclaim this, and the Word of God is sufficient for this labor. Some would turn it into a business or an opportunity for self promotion, but the labor of God’s Kingdom is simply the work of remaining steadfast in His Law and Gospel.
The Gospel is not an “item” to be sold with gimmicks and worldly advertising. It does not depend on bloated institutions or grand buildings. It is simply the power of God to make us whole and bring us forgiveness and eternal life in the blood of Jesus Christ.
However, we also live in a world of flesh-and-blood needs. It is a foolish and sinful thing for God’s people to withhold support for those who do the work of teaching, preaching, and administering God’s Word and Sacraments. The blessings of His Kingdom are eternal and spiritual, but they come to us in this created world.
It is always important for us to be mindful of these realities. We cannot treat the Word of God as a commodity, but neither can we ignore the support that faithful laborers need in the work of spreading the Word.
We pray: Lord God, give us all our daily bread, and help us to be a source of help and comfort to those who faithfully labor in Your fields; and keep us from mishandling the blessings that are entrusted to Your Church here on Earth so that we may also be a source of help and blessing to all who still need to hear the Gospel of forgiveness in our crucified Lord, Jesus Christ; In His Name. Amen.