Keep It Simple (Luke 9: 1-6)

Keep it Simple: Luke 9: 1-6

I remember teaching my oldest daughter to cross the road outside our house on her own. Crossing the road safely is a critical life skill. I guess that I walked her through it lots of times, but there came that day when I needed to let her do it for herself. Of course I chose the time and the place. The first time she set out alone, I made sure that the road was quiet, and there was very little risk, but I was still anxious for her. It’s not always easy to see people you love stepping out on their own. When the time came, I wasn’t far away – ‘keeping an eye’. Ready to leap in and help if necessary.

By the time we reach Luke 9, we know that Jesus has spent time teaching His disciples by His words and example. The focus is on the twelve Disciples. There were still many more people, men and women, following Jesus, but these twelve had been brought forward to be trained for their place of leadership. It’s time to let them step out on their own. Jesus called them together. He gave them power and authority to do what he wanted them to do. The power and authority to ‘drive out demons, cure diseases, proclaim the kingdom of God, and to heal those who were ill.’ (v1-2).

So He was clear about what they were to do, and He gave them the power and authority to do it.

Then we come to what looks like a rather strange instruction. ‘Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.’ (v3). I don’t know whether it sounds strange to you, but to me, as someone who grew up as a Scout, with the motto ‘be prepared’ at the front of my mind, it’s very challenging. Whether I’m travelling for work or holiday, long before I am at the airport I am worrying about the weight of my bag. It’s not just the clothes and the toothbrush. It’s not even the Bible and the notebooks. It’s everything else that I might need and has been crammed into the bulging suitcase. There’s that heavyweight laptop and peripherals. I might want to read that extra book. I might need my sketchbook and paints. I might need – well all sorts of things.

Yet sending these first disciples out on that very first mission adventure, Jesus is saying ‘Go, and take nothing with you.’ Really? You see in training his disciples, Jesus has already dealt with this. What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear? ‘Don’t worry about your life,’ Jesus had taught them, ‘what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes.’ Matthew 6:25. These are not things they were to worry about, for ‘your heavenly father knows that you need them.’ (Matthew 6:31). The teaching of Scripture is that when we are following Him, whilst we may not get everything we want, God provides everything we need, when we need it (Genesis 22:14). When we encumber ourselves with unnecessary baggage, rather than helping the cause, it distracts us. It gets in the way of His purposes.

The message was not that they should never travel with a walking stick or a bag ever again. The lesson was step out in faith. Follow my directions. Be obedient to me. Trust me. If you do, I will provide everything you need.

So what do we learn from this. What has it to do with our lives and our work for Jesus.

There comes a time in our walk with Jesus when you will realise that He is saying that sitting here, listening and learning, is good, but it’s not enough. There is work to be done. Work which will build and develop your faith. We need to step out and do what He is asking us to do. Our instinct is to hold back. ‘I can’t afford that.. I haven’t got the right equipment for that.. ‘ and so on. The reasons not to follow Jesus are endless.

In this passage, Jesus says, ‘Just go..’ Leave the rest to me. That’s the lesson.

When my daughter crossed the road on her own for the first time, I was so close by, that I was ready to run out and stop the traffic if I needed to. I really wanted her to succeed. But I needed her to have the confidence – the faith in herself – to step into the road and keep going. God’s plans for you are that when you follow Him, you will be successful (Jeremiah 29:11). The last thing He said to His disciples before He returned to heaven was ‘Remember this – I am with you always.’ (Matthew 28:20). That’s His promise – He is close by. He is your strength. He is your shield. He is your provider. He wants you to succeed. You need to step out in faith and trust Him more.

This Scripture says if you are following Jesus, doing the things He wants you to do, be prepared to trust Him for everything you need. You will be His chosen instrument for the task He has planned for you (Acts 9:15) and He will not let you down. He will give you the power and authority to achieve His purpose. His anointing is the only equipment you need. When you walk in His ways, be prepared to achieve more than you ever imagined possible. Don’t be constrained by your expectations because all things are possible for God. You will find yourself in situations you never dreamed you would see.

Yes Lord, but there’s all this stuff that I think I might need along the way…

“ Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding .” (Proverbs 3:5)

Jesus said, ‘Don’t load yourself up with equipment. Keep it simple. You are the equipment.’ (Luke 9:3-4, The Message)

Richard Jackson is the former Executive Director of Family Foundations Trust and is an international coach with CCI Worldwide. He is working out what it might mean to be a contemplative evangelical.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *