June 3, 2016 - Two by Two

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;

Luke 10:1-4

Nietzsche accused Christianity of romanticizing poverty and vilifying prosperity.  Here, Jesus sends his disciplines out in voluntary poverty to evangelize.  The purpose is only made clear twelve chapters later as Jesus gives his brief farewell address to the apostles at the Last Supper.  Jesus reminds the apostles of this program and notes how they were perfectly happy without worldly possessions during that time.  Then he cancels the program!  (Luke 22:35) Rather than romanticizing poverty, Jesus was asking them to experience living more simply.  There's a big difference. This is a spiritual exercise shared by Buddhism and popularized recently by Marie Kondo, among others.  Jesus didn’t expect them to sustain this program of austerity for a lifetime, but he clearly thought they’d be better evangelists as a result.