Friday July 8, 2016 Shrewd

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”  Matthew 10:16

Jesus asked a lot of His disciples and of you and me.  Shrewd and innocent at the same time?  Hardly what I would call a slam dunk.  Harry Potter did not want to be in the Slytherin House or be a parcel tongue for fear of the Dark Side emerging in him.  But shrewdness as a quality that the Lord is blessing???  WOW!  He carefully balances that with innocence in the same breath…  Now I am really confused.

The Israelites of Jesus time were agrarian people.  He speaks of animals to put them at ease and give them a frame of reference that they know.  Sheep, wolves, serpents and doves were as common to them as cars or fast food places are to me.  If He were preaching today He might admonish His disciples to be dependable as a Toyota or as humble as a Yugo.  Our frame of reference has changed a lot in 2000 years but the message is still the same.

Jesus knew His disciples would be persecuted and left to their own devices after He was gone.  He wanted to tell them that they would be receiving help from Him.  He promised they would receive the Spirit and they would know what to say.  That those who endured to the end would be saved.  Many fled the persecution, slithering out of town.  But what happened as a result was that The Way was preached and shared throughout the known world.  By being shrewd and avoiding the persecution… they achieved God’s will and brought others the Good News.

Lord help me to be Your willing servant.  Give me the traits that I need to be of service to You and to Your people.  I trust in You to show me the way You would have me go. 

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