We have come to the end of this teaching before Jesus sends his disciples out on mission. How does Jesus close? By talking about unnamed people that will not make the headline news but who will make it possible for the mission-sent disciples to do their work.
The focus is not on the prophets and the righteous ministries nor even the less prominent ones, called ‘little ones’ by Matthew. This is about the unnamed people who will welcome, encourage and take care of them.
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.’” (Matthew 10 v 40-42)
In 1992 I launched out of Bible College with my wife who was expecting our first child ready to change the world for Jesus. I became the Pastor of a rural small church plant of 15 people. In the next 4 years we saw the numbers grow rapidly with wonderful stories of transformation of people’s lives. But when I look back I am always thankful for the unnamed people who took care of our needs, who encouraged and supported us even when we faced opposition. Let me name them:
Philip and Sylvia; Joe and Dorothy; John and Rachel.
Who are they? Just ordinary people who are the unnamed part of the story but without them the story would not have happened.
The Message translation says: “Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger.”
You may be a minister or a missionary reading this thinking of those who have and still take care of you today. Or you may be one of the unnamed people behind such ministries.
Jesus tells us that those who take care of the ‘worker’ is equal to the worker even to their reward. If you are one of them reading this, thank you, for all you are doing. For those of us who wouldn’t be where we are today without such people may we continue to acknowledge these wonderful Jesus people who take care of us especially when the mission is tough!