Jesus wants his disciples to be good mixers.

In sending off the apostles to preach Jesus told them to bring no money in their belts. This is often taken to be a plea for them to practice poverty, but the passage clearly has a different message. Jesus was telling the apostles to be good mixers. He was telling them to stir up a welcoming spirit among people in the towns. They would do it by throwing themselves on people’s hospitality.

The villains in this story are the towns that do not practice hospitality. In leaving such towns the apostles are to shake the town’s dust off their sandals. There was only one other circumstance in which Jews shook the dust off their sandals. That was when they were entering the holy ground of the temple. So, by telling the apostles to shake off the dust before going out into the world, Jesus was telling them to see the whole world as a holy place not to be contaminated by the dust from stingy people.

Jesus did not want the apostles to closet themselves in the rooms of inns. He wanted them to mix, to become one with the people in the places they passed through. Our wealthy society makes it easy for us to stay away from others. If we do not have private houses we at least have our own rooms, our own cars, where we can shut others out.

What happens when we get out among people, exchanging hellos, exchanging compliments, is that we are enriched by these acquaintances.

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