Matthew 10:40-42 (NIV) “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
As the apostles went forth into the harvest field, they needed to remember that this wasn’t about them. If it was about them, every rejection would be a personal rejection, and would have the potential to tear down their self-esteem and confidence, and every acceptance would puff them up, and have them carving notches in their spiritual armaments.
But it wasn’t about them. It was always about Jesus. As long as they stayed true to their message, rejection would never be rejection of them personally, but rejection of God’s kingdom, and of Jesus as their king. Acceptance would be acceptance of God’s kingdom and of Jesus as their king. That is why the penalty was so steep for rejecting the apostles and their message (see Matthew 10:14-15).
The succeeding illustrations simply reemphasize the same point. Prophets are God’s messengers, so anyone who receives them and their message are, in effect, receiving God Himself. A righteous person is someone who is living in God’s kingdom and, as a representative of God’s kingdom, reception of them and their message is, in effect, receiving God Himself. Offering hospitality to one of Jesus, disciples, even one of the least of them, is, in effect, offering hospitality to Jesus Himself, and will be rewarded as such.
Father, we do often take our job in the kingdom personally, especially sharing the gospel, to the point that we take both rejection of the gospel and acceptance of it personally. Help me to think more correctly in this area. Help me to see myself not so much as a person with a job to do for You, but as a representative of You and of Your kingdom. Help me to see every success not as my success, but as Yours. Help me to see every rejection of my message not as a rejection of me, but as a rejection of You and of Your kingdom. That will help me to keep everything in its proper perspective. I won’t grow discouraged when I am rejected, or proud when I succeed. It will even make it easier for me to walk away when the message is rejected, because I will no longer have my own skin in the game. Amen.