All the activity of the disciples is subject to the clear precept of their Lord. They are not left free to choose their own methods or adopt their own conception of their task. Their work is to be Christ-work, and therefore they are absolutely dependent on the will of Jesus. Happy are they whose duty is fixed by such a precept, and who are therefore free from the tyranny of their own ideas and calculations.
The choice of field for their labours does not depend on their own impulses or inclinations, but on where they are sent. This makes it quite clear that it is not their own work they are doing, but God's.
The love of Jesus is something very different from our own zeal and enthusiasms because it adheres to its mission. What is the urge that drives us to proclaim the saving truths of the gospel? It is not just love for our fellow-countrymen or for the heathen in foreign lands: it is the Lord's commission as He delivered it in His missionary charge. It is only that commission which can show us the place where the promise lies.
The proclamation and activity of the messengers are identical with that of Christ Himself. To them has been granted a portion of His power. They are charged to proclaim the advent of the Kingdom of Heaven, and to confirm their message by performing signs. They must heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and drive out devils. The message becomes an event, and the event confirms the message.
Since the authorization and equipment of the messengers is absolutely dependent on the word of Jesus, it is essential that nothing should obscure their royal mission or make it incredible. The messengers are to deliver their testimony to the riches of their Lord in royal poverty. The gifts they have received are no personal possessions which they could trade for other goods.
'Freely ye have received' (Matthew 10:8).
To be a messenger of Jesus confers no personal privileges, no title to power or renown. This is true, even where the free messengers of Jesus have turned into a regular ministry in the Church. The rights of a university education and social standing mean nothing to those who have become messengers of Jesus. 'Freely ye have received.' Or was there something else in addition to the call of Jesus which drew us into His service without any merit of our own?
'Freely give,' He says, moreover: 'Show men that you have plenty of riches to give away, but desire nothing for yourselves, neither possessions, nor admiration, nor regard, and least of all, their gratitude.' Whence could you have any claim on it?
The poverty of Christ's messengers is the proof of their freedom.
The above comes from The Cost of Discipleship, Book 3, The Messengers, Chapter 23, The Work. These words written by a modern evangelical Church father are foundational in their importance, yet the modern Church doesn't hear them or want to hear them. Both the Bible, the Word of God, and the "other books" from ancient to modern Church fathers as well as the plethora of egocentric Christomaniac publications, all are there to serve us, to give us something to inspire us, whet our appetites, mull over and discuss till they are falling apart in our brains, but never to act upon, never to let them convict us and drive us to repentance, to pity, to authentic following of Jesus, to serving the brethren, to fulfilling the 'great commission.'
What is the matter, visible Church? Are you deaf, blind, crippled? You're obviously not dumb, since you do practically nothing but blab. But for me, it's not enough to sit around in a religious kaffeeklatsch and let a deacon smitten with the glory of a descendant of the Paleologi dynasty possibly joining his church tickle my brain.
I just now thought of this verse, opened my Jerusalem Bible randomly to Psalms to find it, and the Book opened to the exact page!
Yahweh Sabaoth, bring us back,
let Your face smile on us and we shall be safe.
Yes, Lord, bring us back, take us to You.
Come, Lord Jesus.