Luke 22:35-36 – “And He said to them, ” When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” 36 And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.” NASU
I will attempt to resist being overly political and arguing for Gun Rights in this devotional but the idea of personal responsibility is clear in the word of our Lord. In His training and development of the disciples and His followers, He had instructed them to go out in ministry with no provision or forethought of their needs. He was teaching the trust and helping them to establish a relationship with the Holy Spirit and the Father they would have missed had He sent them out well prepared financially.
Jesus was coming to the time of His Suffering and preparing them for ministry once He has paid the price for sin, gone into the grave, stripped the devil of his power, arisen, and ascended to the Father. They acknowledged that when He sent them out with nothing there was no lack. That is the place God wants us to live. He wants us to live with no sense of lack or live with total confidence in Him and His provision, purpose, and promise. He now seeks to bring them face to face with the reality of life that each of us has a responsibility to provide for ourselves where and when we can. There are many factors in what He is teaching and doing that I do not have time to address, even if I could so let me focus on that which is in my heart. Personal Responsibility.
Jesus told them to take their ‘money belt’ (checkbook, debit card, wallet), take their ‘bag’ or the material things they needed including food, and personal protection (sword). He even told them that if they did not have one it was important enough that they sell their coat to buy one. There is a time when it is not only right but necessary to engage in self-protection. Yes, I am totally confident that God can protect us. God can and does place angelic hosts around us to guard us against peril. If that is your position and faith, then, by all means, go for it. But, please never feel that you are being faithless if you provide for yourself in money, retirement, investments, and daily needs including the ability to protect yourself, your family, and your property. The very fact that you have a sword may deter that perpetrator from attempting to steal, kill, or destroy, which is what the devil desires to do.
In life, the matter of personal responsibility is very important and something that too many do not understand or address. My parents and grandparents taught us in word and by example that reality. They never sought charity, even when they could have qualified for government sustenance or in today’s vernacular “an entitlement.” They believed that if you bought it you paid for it and if you could not pay for it, you did not buy it. They believed that you gave more than a good day’s work for a day’s wage. We grew and sold peas on our small farm and Dad sold them by the bushel to individuals. There were a few occasions we took a pickup load to a nearby town to sell them in bulk but mostly it was individuals who came by or requested peas. If the people picked their own the price was one thing and if we picked them he added 50 cents to the price. However, if we picked them and brought in a bushel basket brimming full, he would insist that we pressed them down and added more until it was virtually a bushel and a half for the price of a bushel. He believed in giving more that was expected or requested. He taught us that it was part of life to WORK for what you got and instilled in us that there was no free ride through farm chores we did without pay. Without pay is somewhat of a misnomer because he provided for us in a home to live in, family transportation, clothes and shoes to wear, and food to eat. Beyond that, he and mother gave us Love which is priceless.
Jesus taught His disciples and everyone who can hear and receive that we have a responsibility to provide for our own and ourselves. As we take a position that allows us to prepare and plan, God provides in a most wonderful way. We are told to “cast our care on Him because He cares for us.” We are told that “God can and will make a way where there seems to be no way.” We know from the Bible that Our God will meet all our needs according to His riches in Glory and He owns it all. Therefore, if you follow the directive of the Bible and our Lord you are not faithless or weak in your spiritual walk, if you make provision, plan, and prepare you are being obedient and good stewards. If your conviction and assignment from Him are to wing it on “faith and a prayer” I would never condemn you and would encourage you to be obedient. If you receive His directive in this passage then stand tall in faith, confidence, and hope knowing that as you follow His directive He will be there and never leave you nor forsake you.
God, bless you richly is my desire and prayer!