Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Luke 10: 8-9
So I’ve been home for a week. I can’t stop thinking about our trip to Asia Minor. I’ll smell something and I’ll want to be back in Izmir. I’ll hear a bit of conversation that’s in a language I don’t comprehend and I’ll want to be walking through Iznik. I’ll think about my neighbors to whom I want to tell Jesus stories and I’ll want to be walking with my friend Steve through Istanbul.
I don’t travel much. I rarely use my passport. This trip stretched me. A lot of people in our church are ‘out there’ way more than me. So let me acknowledge that what I am about to say is probably ‘old hat’ for a lot of you. There. Caveat done.
The thing that impacted me the most on this trip was the need to be consistently, even constantly, flexible. And what amazed me about our Restoration team is that they jumped the ‘flexibility bar’ over and over and over. We were in tight quarters [9 passenger van, 18 people in a house, small hotel rooms] and on top of each other for 10 days. And the team really did well.
I love that we lived out Jesus’ instruction from Luke 10. We entered 3 or 4 towns a day and people would generously receive us. We prayed for the sick. We announced the Kingdom of God with stories about Jesus. And we ate what was set before us– tea and sugar, biscuits, lots of cherries. We stayed the night with one family and breakfast the next morning consisted of olives, bread, cucumbers, chocolate wafer cookies, and cheetos. And we ate what was set before us.
It’s a great teaching from Jesus that can be applied to so many areas of our life. For me, I am always hungry. It was good for me to learn to receive God’s provision, even if it might not be the kind of meal that I normally choose.
What has been set before you? What has been set before us? Our job, kids, friendships, roommates, homes, living situations. Jesus wanted to teach me to be grateful and content in all circumstances. And he wanted me to experience how he would take care of me. “David, eat what is set before you. Look for my provision in the circumstances and people to whom I call you.”
It was a unique privilege to be welcomed into so many places in Asia Minor. To be candid, I do not have a history of welcoming 7-9 strangers into my home for tea or dinner or a night’s lodging. Yet I received that kind of hospitality and care over and over. I lived each day ‘eating what is set before me’. I miss it.