“He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff ~ no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts ~ but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.”
I read this passage in church this morning, and suddenly I was struck with a terrible feeling. What if I had been a disciple? Would Jesus have asked me to go on a journey taking nothing? No bag, no bottle of water? No chapstick or a packet of kleenex or nail clippers? What if I had a cuticle issue on the journey??
And then I wondered how the disciples felt about that instruction. Were there any of them who suffered from anxiety and might need a few things with them for security? How about: were any of the disciples autistic? Allergic to gluten or intolerant of lactose? Did any of them suffer from fibromyalgia?
Maybe. Quite possibly. It seems like the kind of thing Jesus would do. He might have known that if He had a variety of personalities on His outreach team, then they would be able to reach out to a variety of people.
Or He may have been thinking of the disciples themselves, and how to grow them, strengthening their weak points, rehabilitating them.
Or, you know, both…
We know for a fact that for all of their similarities, there were a lot of differences between the disciples, in their occupations and attitudes. But the fact of the matter is that Jesus didn’t care. Much as the world doesn’t care; have you noticed this? No matter how free-spirited and creative you are, you still have to obey traffic laws. You still have to pay for your groceries. It’s style-cramping sometimes, to be sure. No matter how much you pay attention to politics or how much you study up on the issues and the candidates, you cannot vote if you’re under the age of 18.
Sometimes society’s rules are about courtesy and avoiding chaos. Other times it’s simply that the world has a one-size-fits-all philosophy.
Even though one size doesn’t always fit all.
Jesus, too, doesn’t care about your issues. I mean, He cares, of course, but it’s no excuse in His eyes. His commands still apply. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Being autistic or gluten-free doesn’t mean the world is going to conform to you. Any more than it’s going to for me and my issues.
But He gives us the strength to do what He commands us to do, just like the paralyzed man whom He commanded to pick up His mat and walk. The power to obey is in the command.
God didn’t create us all to be exactly alike. But He did create us all to be exactly like Him.