Luke 10:5-7 (NIV) “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.”
Part of God’s provision for those sent ahead of Jesus was a place to stay in each village that they went to – a place that would not only provide shelter, but food as well. But these men would have to rely on God’s direction to select that house.
As representatives of God’s kingdom, the first thing that they were to do in each house was to pronounce God’s peace, His shalom, on the home and on all who lived there. Most of the time, their peace would be received by the owner of the house. But there always existed the possibility that the homeowner would not receive their peace, but would put them up grudgingly and complain as he provided for their needs.
Of course, it is always more pleasant to stay in a house where you are warmly welcomed and graciously hosted. But no matter what kind of reception these apostles got at the house that God chose for them, they were carefully instructed to stay there, eating and drinking whatever was set before them as the wages that He was providing for them. They were, under no circumstances short of being thrown out, to try to find a better house to stay at, or a more hospitable host.
The reason for this is that, as they went, thy were to go as emissaries of the kingdom of God, to prepare the hearts of the people that they met for Jesus, who was coming right behind them. Some of the people had desperately hard hearts that needed more preparation than others, and God often would lead them to the house of just such a person. But as those people experienced God’s grace and love operating in and through the lives of those men, their own hearts would be softened and their curiosity aroused as to why they believed and acted as they did, even in the midst of being treated inhospitably. And then, when Jesus arrived, He would find the hearts in that household softened and plowed, ready for the gospel seeds to be planted.
Father, it is so easy for us to look around to find the nicest people to focus our evangelistic efforts on. We figure that they are the “low hanging fruit,” already close to salvation because they are so nice. But I have seen that You are often working most strongly in the hearts of the inhospitable, those who are obviously, painfully lost; those that do not seem to be an intuitive selection at all. Lord, help me to not try to decide so much on my own, but to be content to follow Your lead always, to go unquestioningly to the people and the places You send me, and to work there until the work is done, or You yourself direct me to move on. Amen.