In today’s gospel, Jesus “summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two” (Mark 6:7). I wonder what Jesus thought – not in summonsing or sending, but while watching them head down that long road. I wonder if there was the divine thought revolving around the urgency and rightness of the mission to proclaim the Kingdom of God to the world. Right there alongside the human response of “they’re not ready….”?
Jesus called the twelve from their occupations, gathered them in fellowship, taught and formed them in the true meaning of forgiveness, repentance and the power of God. But they were still a “work-in-progress.” But sent they were and off they went.
I wonder about their thoughts. Did they share a sense of “we’re not ready”? Were they like a team bursting out of the locker room ready for gametime? Or was there a quiet nervousness while some preparatory adrenaline began to build reminding them this mission was not their work, but work for which they were empowered by God?
I know that these are the same thoughts and emotions when a pastor begins a new ministry, commissions new disciples for an existing ministry, and so begins anew the work of the Kingdom. I know that these are the thoughts and emotions of those being sent. It is what I felt, as a lay person, in my first hospital ministry, my first prison visit, when boarding the plane to Kenya. “What am I doing here?”
But in sending and being sent there are two ideas, two motivations that are prime – far more important than how you feel about readiness or worthiness. (1) There is nothing more important than manifesting the love of God and (2) you have been equipped for the work of the Kingdom. All the rest are details that will work themselves out along the way. We are fragile and breakable, “But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.” (2 Cor 4:7)