I was a Girl Scout, but I probably should have been a Boy Scout, because my motto is the same as theirs: “Be Prepared.” My purse contains a small multi-tool, tissues, Band-Aids, safety pins, and gum. If you ask me to bring chips and dip to your party, I’m good -- because I have Tostitos, Velveeta, and Rotel in my pantry. There’s a fully-stocked toiletries travel bag in my closet. I have a small toolbox in my car with a hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, and socket wrench set. You get the picture.
After gathering his Twelve, Jesus sent them out on the dusty trail without your typical backpack supplies: “no bread, no bag, no money in their belts.” I would have balked at that and refused to step one foot out of town unless I had a bag with food, water, and money in it. And some hand sanitizer and lip balm.
They were carrying nothing. But they had everything they needed to share the good news of the Gospel. They had each other (“two by two”) for backup. I am painfully shy, so when I go out evangelizing, I always like to have a friend with me who can easily initiate conversations. When my partner knows the Bible and can answer some hard questions, I am full of confidence. They also had something that we all have: our personal story of redemption. I was lost and then was found. What it was like, what happened, and what I am like now. I was a sinner, separated from my maker, and then Jesus brought me forgiveness and free access to the God of the universe.
Jesus also gave the Twelve “authority over the unclean spirits,” and as we see in verse 13, the power to heal sick people. We have this too if you think about it. If you’re a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit living inside you. A spirit that is a comforter, counselor, guide, advocate, intercessor, revealer of sin and truth, teacher, and witness. Does the Holy Spirit in you have power? You betcha. And what about healing? We can get someone to a doctor, right? And more than that, we have a message that can heal our hurts, regrets, jealousy, anger, and resentment. We also have the fruit of the Spirit to share: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What else could we possibly need?
The next time I’m lamenting my lack of things, I’ll look to these verses. I have everything I need to do the best and most important work I’ll ever do: making disciples.