When you come to a town or village go in and look for someone who is willing to welcome you, and stay with him until you leave that place.When you go into a house, say “Peace be with you.” If the people in that house welcome you, let your greeting of peace remain; but if they do not welcome you, then take back your greeting.
And if some home or town will not welcome you or listen to you, then leave that place and shake the dust off your feet. I assure you that on the Judgment Day God will show more mercy to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah than to the people of that town!
[Jesus’ 12 disciples are sent out on a mission trip with these instructions. For background see Days 83-84.]
In this next instruction to his disciples Jesus tells the disciples what to do when they get to a village. They have to find someone who is willing to take them in, even though they have no money. No one is required to do this according to Jewish law. They are supposed to be friendly and non-threatening. Peaceful. If they are rejected they should just move on and allow God to be the judge.
It’s pretty impossible for me to read this scripture without thinking about the Mormons. For the Mormons, going on mission is one of the essential practices of Christianity. Here’s a description from their website:
Imagine you found a cure for cancer. How urgently would you spread the news of your discovery? Who would you tell? The gospel of Jesus Christ is the cure for so many of life’s ills that Mormons want to share the good news of eternal life with the same urgency.
The Lord’s Church has always been a missionary church. Jesus Christ’s life was the perfect example of missionary work. During His ministry on earth, he taught the gospel at all times, in all places, and to all kinds of people. Jesus taught the educated men in the temple, the sinners, the faithful and the unbelieving. He also called apostles and other disciples to preach the gospel so more people could hear about the blessings of His gospel. Most of their preaching during Christ’s life was to their own people, the Jews. After Jesus was resurrected, He visited His apostles and sent them to preach to the gentiles. He commanded them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
All Mormons are strongly encouraged to go on mission when they are young adults. Missions typically last between 1½-2 years. Like the disciples of Jesus they are not paid during this time; they are, however, allowed to take money with them as well as clothes and all of the normal things. Throughout the history of their church, the Mormons have sent out more than one million missionaries all over the world.
Traveling door to door in pairs with their white shirts and dark ties, they are easily recognizable. Most people in Chicago don’t invite them into their homes. The Mormons are are always polite even if you turn them away. They just shake that dust off their feet and move on.
It’s a different story out here in the suburbs. People here really like to talk to Mormons, even if they already are committed members of other churches. One of the members of my church visits with the Mormons routinely and they discuss theology and church traditions. They continue to visit with her even though they know she is a committed Lutheran and has no intention of jumping ship. One time when they came to visit, her basement had just flooded and she was feeling overwhelmed. The Mormon missionaries quickly volunteered to clean it all up. It was really nice of them. She said they saved her life.
We stayed at a bed and breakfast near Nauvoo, IL that was run by a Mormon woman. She was a wonderful hostess. She talked to us about what it’s like to be a Mormon. It was fascinating. After a few days she told us that some Baptists who were staying at her house told her she was going to go to hell. She wasn’t angry but you could tell she was hurt. She said, “I just don’t understand why someone would say that to someone else”. I agree. I don’t understand it either.
So the next time a couple of Mormons come to my door, I am going to greet them warmly and offer them some cookies. It’s a tough world out there, full of wolves, and they suffer a lot of rejection. I will just look at them as though they were those original disciples, out there wandering around on that original mission trip looking for a place rest and hoping to fulfill their mission for the glory of God.
What does this scripture say to you?