So Jesus figures it’s time to send you out on your own to do some ministry. So He gives you Power and Authority to go kick some demon butts and heal some sick people. That's all you need and you're set to go.
But then Jesus gives you one final instruction that blows your mind. It just seems too hard. Too crazy. Get this - Jesus commands your team to take NOTHING for the journey:
• no stash of peanut butter or any food at all…no bueno
• no Northface backpack with built in compartment for a sleeping bag
• no visa card or even any local currency
• no change of clothes…
Read it for yourself in case you think I'm making this up:
He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. (Luke 9:3,4a)
Hmmm. This is one is hard. I mean, you’re going to need a change of undies at the least, surely!?!
Before you write this one off as simply too tough, let’s grapple with it for a moment shall we? Here's my suggestion of how to understand what Jesus is doing here:
In stripping yourself of the basic resources, Jesus is forcing you to rely completely on the local resources of the villages you visit as you do ministry. (and they have virtually nothing, definitely no extra undies)!!!!!
Jesus is forcing us to empower local people by our posture of dependence. Matthew put it even more clearly:
“Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for a worker is worthy of his food” (Matthew 10:9-10).
This is actually an incredibly IMPORTANT principle.
You see, bringing outside resources to help solve problems, without the ability of local people to copy that same strategy is the opposite of empowering – it’s immensely DIS-empowering. It sends the clear message that problems can only be solved by well-resourced outsiders!!!
Sure, your own resources will make an immediate difference. They WILL solve the problem. For now. But what happens the next time those people face a similar problem? They will be forced to turn back to you (or someone like you) for help again, thus setting in motion the inevitable patron-client relationship that we all know and love to hate.
So, Jesus is laying a foundation for an approach to ministry that is built entirely on working within the limitations of local people and encouraging reliance on God rather than us.
from "Partnering with a poor church" by Craig Greenfield