Today, some of my dear Brasilian friends prophesied to me. The prophetic action was to wash the dust of the past off my feet. God has been speaking to me about residue, and I’ve been seeking a deeper insight into Jesus’ instructions to His sent kingdom representatives. “Shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”
Jesus gave them assignment. If the assignment was rejected, they should understand that the assignment responsibility was relieved. They were not responsible for the city if rejection of the Message was obvious and obstinate. They should walk away and take nothing with them, give themselves to remaining priorities, and expend no more emotional energy on the city.
This doesn’t mean Jesus wouldn’t continue to reach out to them with a different strategy. It did mean the sent ones were relieved of their responsibility.
Dust residue can bring foot sores when you proceed to future assignments.
When Israel came out of Egypt they wandered. The dust of the desert, shifting sands of temporary preparation, were not the place to put down roots.
So, I shouldn’t leave any root system in desert places awaiting a rain that was never coming. I should plant deeply in the soil of my inheritance. I shouldn’t carry the dust of forgotten places when God’s assignments move me on to fertile soils.
I’m not a quitter. I never give up on people even when they give up on themselves and blame me for quitting. However, some residues interfere with healthy leadership and kingdom assignments. John, the apostle of love, says, “They went out from us but they did not really belong with us. For if they had belonged with us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”
God never gives up on people but God certainly releases us responsibility for people with obvious obstinance. God releases us from cities who refuse to respond to the Message. At some point the grieving must end.
We must move with the movers. We must invest in true sons and daughters. Our hearts remain open for the return of prodigals. Our hearts remain fully committed to aiding our neighbors. But the example and model of Jesus reveals that we all function by assignment. We are not responsible for everyone and assignments can change.
I am certain that some of God’s great generals should have walked away and shaken dust from their feet but died in grief. Perhaps we could understand Moses’ failure at the end by his refusal or inability to shake the wilderness sand from his feet, his emotional emptiness at the continued obstinance of Israel.