“Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” (Mark 6:10-11)
Whenever I come across this passage in Mark, I delight in Jesus’ fatherhood, and how he wishes to give us the best advice possible for a healthy, productive, God-serving life. It is clear, Jesus does not want us to squander our time. We have been given a mission, sent forth to preach the Good News! If hearts are hardened and cannot receive this gift, we do not have to belabor the point. Whew! Thank you, Jesus!
For many years now, I have joined a group of sidewalk advocates at our state’s only abortion facility with the aim of giving women seeking abortion a last-ditch chance to reconsider the potentially grave decision before them. The fruits of this ministry go beyond the souls who show up for their appointments. Almost every week, we also talk to passerby, and believe you me, the conversations can be quite interesting. Sometimes, we experience what seems to us a breakthrough in heart. Other times, we witness the world’s hardened heart.
The other day, I watched as a post-abortive woman with a very tender heart tried to reach out to the abortion escorts. She didn’t wish to engage on the topic of abortion, knowing the likely futility. Instead, she wanted to tell them about an exciting new media series, “The Chosen.” She was there not to reprimand them for their work, but to bring Jesus to them. As she softly approached, they looked at her with what seemed like shock, and then, as she gently persisted a few minutes longer, revolt. “We’re not the least bit interested in that,” one said, flippantly turning away.
We experience a lot of tough exchanges out there, but this one gripped me, because I could see the pure intention of my advocate friend, and it was so obvious the escorts were not open. Eventually, she also turned away, and, I dearly hope, shook that dust off clean!
In my growing-up years, I didn’t learn well how to set boundaries. It’s taken me five decades to practice this, and I’m still not expert at it. Which is why I love that Jesus lets us off the hook. We don’t have to cling to those who reject us. We are only asked to plant little seeds of love and be on our way. He will take care of the rest.
As Mother Theresa once said, we are not called to be successful, only faithful.
Thank you, Jesus, for helping us know where we end, and You begin.
This week, if you encounter a situation where a heart is hardened to your offer of love, pause, and imagine the dust falling away from your sandal, then hand the task over to God.