In Mark 6: 7-13 Jesus sends out the disciples on a mission trip and it's interesting what He gives for instructions. Don't take:
- a bag
- a second tunic
Take nothing except a staff, sandals, and a partner. Why such strange instructions? It appears that the premise was, travel light. A second tunic would be a luxury that the disciples couldn't afford. They were on a desperate rescue mission.
They were to shake the dust off their shoes as a testimony against their own people! This symbolic rebuke was usually saved for heathen nations; a harsh indictment for any who would not hear this message.
No food and no money meant no recreation while they were out. On the first night they would have to be someone's guest or they would go hungry. I guess Jesus didn't intend for them to spend any time together considering the mission they were sent on. There was to be no committee meetings, no fellowship gatherings, just dive right in!
It takes faith to go on a mercy mission for Jesus. To leave the comfort of the twelve (such as it is) and head off into the unknown does take a little moxy to be sure but the important thing is you're not alone. Jesus doesn't send anyone out alone. There's power in numbers and two is a great number to work with.
A team of two carries far more strength than the sum of it's parts. Two servants of the Lord posess the strength of the union and the weaknesses of the intersection; to use a math phrase. What I mean is any gift possessed by one of the two is put to use. My organizational skills can work for both of us. Your compassion and consideration can work for us. We don't both have to be great public speakers to get the message out.
Only weakness shared by both partners can be exploited by the enemy. When we cover each others faults we are stronger together than apart.
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
The trouble with two tunics is that it suggests a pace of ministry that seems a bit too pedestrian for the task at hand. Don't get me wrong! There is nothing here to justify the GO! GO! GO! lifestyle of lots of God's servants. Though Mark doesn't follow up this story, in Luke we read what comes next:
When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida. (Luke 9: 10)
Immediately after the success of this first trip Jesus draws the teams back for a bit of rest and relaxation. Our ministries need to provide rest for the ministers (Don't muzzle the ox!) but comfort and convenience are not considerations for ministers while on a mission of mercy. Let's leave behind the second tunic, strap on the sandals, get your partner and go! His Kingdom awaits!