Preachers Trust in the Lord | Mark 6:8–12
He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.
We’re continuing to look at the sending of the apostles, and here, Jesus’s instructions to them seem strange. They’re to bring nothing with them—no provisions. They’re certainly sent with an urgency, but also with a lesson. Even though they have supernatural authority (v. 7), must still trust in the Lord for their provisions. There’s also a hint here as to how God expects His ministers to live.
The apostles had to take nothing. They weren’t to model wealth (sporting two tunics), nor were they to bring even a bag for belongings and food. Even so, they weren’t to beg along the way, but instead were to find houses in towns receptive to Jesus’s teaching to stay in for a short time. They mustn’t hop from one house to the next in a village searching for better meals and lodging; the next house they staying in would be in the next town. They were relying on God for their next meal.
God provides through His people. We see this in that they did not choose houses at random. In Matthew 10:11, Jesus explains that they were to take care to find “worthy” houses, “for the laborer deserves his food” (v. 10). When a town in Israel refused them, it was treated the same as a Gentile, pagan territory, and dust off its dirt from their feet. They were relying on the people open to God’s truth.
Even though Jesus commanded it of His apostles at this moment, this isn’t a command to all Christians or pastors, and there’s no indication that even the apostles saw it as binding for all time. For instance, the Apostle Paul worked as a “tentmaker” to help support himself in Corinth (Acts 18:3), and pastors/elders should expect that their congregation will do what they can to support them (1 Tm 3:17–18). Even so, we still see two important principles come through—men of God must learn contentment (cf. 1 Tm 6:6) while trusting Him to provide, and that provision will often be through His people.