Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
“Don’t think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.
“When you enter a town or village, don’t insist on staying in a luxury inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave.
“When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they’ll be mighty sorry—but it’s no concern of yours now.
“Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood.”
That way of rendering the verse about not going to the Gentiles but the “lost sheep of Israel” really hits home.
I think Jesus is simply saying, “show up.”
Be present in the lives of those in your neighborhood. Just show up. When we seek to simply show up we don’t need a lot of money and we don’t need a lot of stuff. All that is needed is a willing and open heart.
Jesus’ ministry was all about showing up. He was present in the lives of those around him. Peterson taps into this concept in the way he translates the opening of John 1, “he moved into the neighborhood.” It is in Christ that God was made manifest. This means that God was physically present in the world. What a remarkable concept! There was no fear by God that corruption would naturally follow as a result of being in the world, there was only the promise of the redemption of all things.
Too many times those of us who are Christian are too afraid of being in the world. We fear becoming corrupted by the sin-sickness we see around us. Yet, the call of God is to go be present in the world. We are not to hide in holy huddles but we are to be lamp-stands in a dark world.
In other words, we are to show up.
Where do you need to be present today? With whom do you need to show up?