Matthew 10:16 "See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
Followers of Jesus are to anticipate struggle, persecution, betrayal, hatred and even death. We are therefore invited to “endure to the end” - when we will be saved. This is a far cry from some modern Christians who seem to think that following Jesus will bring blessings, appreciation, love... and financial reward.
The fact is – we all want wealth, health and happiness. And so we are tempted to sign up for a religion that promises to supply this in abundance. But this is not the way of Jesus. For this reason Jesus warns us to become “wise and serpents and innocent as doves”. This asks us to become tough, stubborn, and enduring in our capacity to follow Jesus - while at the same time uncompromising in our compassion to the weak and the forgotten people who have no way of rewarding us.
Ordinary 29A / Pentecost +19
51 Servants of Christ
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 311.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.