Today's title has a double meaning. Wherever disciples of Jesus travel, they are the light of the world - His agents to illuminate this dark world with the gospel (Matthew 5:14). But they also need to 'travel light'. That is, they must go in faith, trusting that the Lord will provide for them physically as well as spiritually. Without any reserve provisions, they must depend on Him to supply daily bread and every need.
In the same way that the Israelites who travelled through the wilderness received Manna from God (Exodus 16:14-30), the disciples would always have enough for each day. Jesus said that He is the Bread from Heaven (John 6:35) and all who are obeying Him will also have sufficient provision to serve Him. ‘Travelling light’ as a missional lifestyle demonstrates that Jesus will supply every need (Philippians 4:19).
The disciples had never been out on this sort of mission by themselves (in groups of two) before. They would have been concerned about how they would survive the experience. So, Jesus gave clear instructions to the disciples: "Take nothing", said Jesus, "if you are welcomed, receive their hospitality; if not, move on to where you (and your message) will be received". Surprisingly, He commanded them to show God's rejection of those who rejected their message by shaking the dust of that town off their sandals - a sign that the gospel was not only for the salvation of believers but also for the judgement of those who refused (Acts 13:49-52). In that way Jesus was teaching His apprentices that the message of the Kingdom was not a casual idea, but that people's response to it would critically affect their eternity (Luke 10:10-12).
Yet, for many believers, the gospel has lost its 'life and death' impact. Radical faith has been replaced by comfortable Christianity ... a quiet personal harbour rather than running the risks of a turbulent ocean to take the salvation-message where it is most needed. It is too easy for ministers and ministries to attract the trappings of corporate business with its money, status and power; not at all like the Apostle Paul's experience (2 Corinthians 11:23-29). Many in the world-wide church pity those with Western-style comfort-faith, who demand a style of financial and practical security which Jesus never had himself - while 'ordinary Christians' hide behind the 'professional clergy' and avoid the responsibility of telling the gospel message in the community and workplace. Those of our brothers and sisters under persecution understand today's verses much better, because they have to live them! Let these verses be a reminder to travel light, as a messenger with the message, and leave all the supply problems to the Lord.
© Dr Paul Adams