A large wooden crate with a big dog inside rested on a railroad station platform. The dog was very sad. It wasn’t that he was ugly or abused. He just looked abandoned and sad.
A young woman noticed the dog and asked about him. The railroad employee replied, “You would be sad, too, if you were in his situation. He’s chewed the tag off the crate and doesn’t know where he’s going.”
That sounds like many people in our world today. They have untold monetary resources. They’re skilled, well educated, and talented. They’re in good health. They have almost everything they could want, even a computer tracking device that tells them where they are and how to get to their physical destination.
Yet they’ve chewed the tag off their spiritual crate. They’re bogged down and they’re lost. They do not know how to lead their children to be responsible moral Christians. They have no idea how to find the path for a divorce-proof marriage.
As our Lord once said, “They are like sheep without a shepherd.”
When Jesus sent his disciples to proclaim the Good News of God’s Kingdom, he gave them strict instructions how they were to conduct themselves. They were to travel light and not get bogged down with material comforts. He wanted them to be focused on what they were doing and why they were doing it. In word and action, the disciples were to proclaim the good news of God’s love for all people.
The strict demands made by Jesus were to keep them focused. Jesus knew that comfort was often the enemy of zeal. If possessions bogged down the disciples, they could be distracted from their task.
Author Steve Covey, who wrote “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” died a couple of weeks ago. His second habit is “Begin with the End in Mind.” In other words, keep focused. Make sure that what you are going down the right path.
Jesus also wanted to make sure they didn’t get discouraged if people rejected them or their message. So he sent them out in twos so they won’t be overcome by the negativity of others.
If people rejected them, they were to “shake the dust from their feet” and move on. They were not to take the rejection personally. They were to shake it off and move on remembering their goal.
An unknown author has written the following poem entitled, “Don’t quit.”
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When we might have won had we stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
As St. Paul reminds us in Romans, “If God is for us, who can be against us.” Never give up! Persevere to the end!