““And as you go, preach saying, ‘the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ ”” Matthew 10:7 (NKJV)
In the midst of Jesus’ charge to the twelve apostles are these few words that seem at first to serve little more purpose than to hold this passage together. The first part of the sentence, “and as you go,” is often overlooked as we hurry for the “meat” of the passage; overlooked for its simplicity perhaps but quite possibly because we are people focused on an ending, on a destination rather than on a journey. Jesus is giving the sent ones specific instructions to be focused on the journey rather than the destination; knowing that our human nature drives us to seek completion of assigned tasks; He challenges them to be useful along the way and not just at their destination. Many of us are so destination focused that we don’t see the opportunities all around us for service; so caught up in our purpose that we have no room for ministry outside of our self determined box of destiny. We may take a cue from Jesus’ own life and ministry (one and the same) the Scriptures are filled with accounts of His stopping along the way to heal and help those who are in need; even when He was on the cross Jesus took the time to minister to the thief and to take care of His mother.
We must of course be focused on our goals, but not to the degree that we lose sight of the greater goal of ministering “as we go”; else we miss the great blessing of being a blessing to those in need along the way. In this day and age we live according to our phones and tablets and our computers and organizers keep track of every minute of the day and arrange appointments for weeks and even months in advance; a great system for destination oriented folk but not so great for “as you go” ministry.
I can almost hear the gasps of those who live by their appointment books; thinking that they won’t be able to get anything done if they are distracted by unscheduled opportunities; I would remind them that this is not a race it is a walk, a stroll if you will where we should take time to smell the roses.
I am personally ashamed at the number of opportunities to help that I have missed because I had to “go” but didn’t take the time to “preach” (pray, help, counsel, console) as I was going. We can not let our destination be an excuse to ignore the need for ministry as it presents itself in our walk with the Lord.
“I can almost hear the Trumpet”