Staging for Success
5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.”
The disciples were emissaries of Jesus Christ, preaching peace with God through the Gospel. The traditional greeting was “shalom”, which meant “peace be unto you.” This peace was more than just “inner peace.” It was meant to convey completeness, wholeness, prosperity. Additionally, it was to also it indicate not just a lack of conflict between the person (or persons/organization) offered the greeting and the greeter, but an amicable connectedness between them. But since the disciples were told not to greet anyone on the road, they were to present this blessing of peace to those who permitted them to stay with them.
In addition, their peace – the peace that was provided through the reconciliation to God through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ – would only come upon those whose hearts were prepared for it. If anyone rejected their message, their protection and provision of peace would leave the unbelieving persons and rest again upon the disciples. The peace of God will only descend and rest upon those who receive the message of the Gospel.
Have you ever been near someone and felt at complete peace around them, as though the cares of the world vanished, and the presence of God protected you from all harm? I believe that this is the peace that God provided to those who received the disciples, that it would be both a blessing to their hosts and a witness to the disciples’ calling from God, so that their hosts would receive what God intended for them to accept and receive – the peace of imputed righteousness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
God’s provision did not only include housing, but also food and drink. The disciples were in the process of being staged to deliver the message of God, and in doing so, they were to accept what was provided to them in contentment, without questioning the source; for the source was The Lord God Almighty. God would provide everything that they needed to be successful in the calling that God had provided to them to fulfill. This also freed them to work full-time on their calling, rather than concerning themselves with funding their efforts.
God is not a respecter of persons. He does not show favoritism. By staying at the house that initially invited them in, and provided hospitality to them, there would be no appearance of impropriety with moving from house to house. This ensured that their base of operations within the town and the city was established. Additionally, as the townspeople saw that blessing that was afforded by God to the host family, they might have begun to wonder what had happened and be drawn to hear the message.
In any case, it would not be good to have the people say that the disciples were leaching off of families, staying until they had worn out their welcome, begging for food and shelter from any who would provide. By staying at one residence, it removed any charges of favoritism. Imagine what would be said if they came to a poor home, and within a day or so, moved to the home of a wealthy person or a person of authority or prominence. The charge of seeking favoritism would rightly have been leveled against them.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask ourselves a question: Are we staging for the ministry that God is preparing us for in contentment and peace?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You are the provider of all good things. Thank You for the opportunities that You provide to me, and for Your gracious provision in all that I have. Help me to have a walk that is so close to You that Your peace surrounds me like a cloud. Still my heart of any anxiety for any situation that I may be facing today. May Your presence be felt by others around me and be a witness to Your provision, love, and care. Show me how to stage my life that Your plans may be fulfilled through me. Father, help me to be a vessel emptied of myself and filled with Your Spirit. Prepare me to be a better tool that You might use me mightily in Your Kingdom. This I ask and pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.