What Ever Happened to “Shake the Dust From Your Feet?”

Words of wisdom from Scott Dannemiller, aka The Accidental Missionary on how to deal with those you disapprove of:

Recall what Jesus told his closest buddies the first time he sent them out. He told them to heal, cure, and comfort, proclaiming God’s name along the way. And he added,

“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” (Matt 10: 14)

Sounds harsh, right? But he doesn’t add, “And leavest thou a flaming bag of poo on their doorstep, and drape their olive trees in Charmin.”

Jesus is telling us to let it go. Self-righteous outrage is not worth the trouble. If judgment is to come, let Him be the sword. Meanwhile, save your words. They hold little value anyway.

But . . . but . . . even Jesus got angry, right? Sure. And let’s look at what Jesus got angry about:

A “hangry” Jesus got mad at a fig tree when he walked by and noticed it bore no fruit. He overturned tables like Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse, outraged with the money lenders turning a temple into a strip mall. He expressed outrage toward anyone who would harm a child, sounding a bit Tony Soprano-like when he said they would be better off sleeping with the fishes.

Got that? Jesus got angry about hunger not fed, the commercialization of the holy and harm to children. If what you are angry about is one of those things, fine. But if you’re angry about any of the usual hobby horses that drive conflict with and in the church, Jesus says to let it go.

Don’t yell and scream. Don’t appeal your case to the powers that be. Don’t explain your position over and over and over again to people who have already rejected it. Don’t go to war with those who reject you, your message or God himself. Leave it for God to deal with. Even if you think it’s an idiotic way to do things.

2 thoughts on “What Ever Happened to “Shake the Dust From Your Feet?”

  1. Jesus performed a prophetic, symbolic curse of a fig tree representing the Temple-centered Judaism of the Romans’ client-regime in Jerusalem — saying essentially that the time had come for it to bear good fruit or die. Then he went into the Temple grounds, where he found the hierarchy in charge there utterly set against the message he had for them. The tree is seen to be withered when he leaves. (Judaism itself seems to have had a great deal of vitality beyond the Temple cult, which developed fruitfully in several directions afterwards, in that Christian sect among others. But the Temple itself was subsequently destroyed by the same kind of illusions Jeremiah had described: “Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord.'” Different political factions were fighting over literal possession of the place while the Romans were preparing their final assault… You really can’t have a religion without political implications — but a religion tailored to fit anyone’s political agenda is like… ‘a House built on sand’, yes?)

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