“Freely have you received – freely give”
Do you believe that the gospel has power to change your life and the lives of others? Jesus gave his disciples a two-fold commission to speak in his name and to act with his power. The core of the gospel message is quite simple: the kingdom (or reign) of God is imminent! What is the kingdom of God? It is that society of men and women who freely submit to God and who honor him as their Lord and King. In the Lord’s prayer we pray for God to reign in our lives and in our world: May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus also commissioned his disciples to carry on the works which he did – bringing the healing power of God to the weary and oppressed. The gospel has power to set people free from sin, sickness, fear, and oppression. The Lord will free us from anything that keeps us from loving him and our neighbor with joy and confidence.
Jesus said to his disciples: Freely you have received, freely give. What they have received from Jesus they must now pass on to others without expecting a favor in return, whether it be in form of a gift or payment. They must show by their attitude that their first interest is in serving God, not receiving material gain. They must serve without guile, full of charity and peace, and simplicity. They must give their full attention to the proclamation of God’s kingdom and not be diverted by other lesser things. They must travel light – only take what was essential and leave behind whatever would distract them – in order to concentrate on the task of speaking the word of the God. They must do their work, not for what they can get out of it, but for what they can give freely to others, without expecting special privileges or reward. “Poverty of spirit” frees us from greed and preoccupation with possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision. The Lord wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves. Upon whom are you dependent?