“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves…When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:16-23 NRSV).
Jesus gives some good advice to the disciples here. It is good advice for our daily lives, as well. The hard part for me is to understand how to be wise and innocent at the same time. Whenever I am wise, I get too much of “me” in the picture.
Jesus’ words are comforting in one sense and challenging in another. When I anticipate a situation where I will need to know what to say and how to say it, I worry in trying to go over all the different aspects of the situation.
This is where our daily conversation with God comes in. We must strive to enter His consciousness in all the situations of our lives. Faith, hope and love must abide in us. Calling on God is a daily thing. He is not just some call-up breakdown service that we summon when we can’t handle things ourselves. Our relationship with Him must be ongoing, and it’s up to us to make it that way. That’s the one thing that God has put us in charge of: whether and when to turn to him.
All of what troubles us in this life is impacted directly by the way that we react to the situations in our lives. If we are not seeking God and His reaction in these things, then we will be doomed to the results of our own reaction. Listening to God is mandatory in the new life in Christ. In our listening, we will be better able to share Him with others.
Jesus went on to tell the disciples, “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.”
Robert Halsey Pine was born in Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.