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Day 21 - Friday, March 12

Matthew 10:14

And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.

Also: similar advice at Mark 6:11 and Luke 9:5

We are taught that Jesus was a carpenter. His father was. In most cases, male children in Palestine at that time were taught the trade of the father. He probably grew up a practical man in a world where practicality was necessary to survival. This is taken from general advice that Jesus gave to his disciples as they went out into the world. Jesus had few followers at that time, so he needed to maximize their skills and time. This is very practical advice.

We’ve all had family, friends, loved ones do things that we know in the pit of the stomach are wrong-headed. We try to convince them to accept what we see. “Our family doesn’t do well with alcohol; you need to stop now!” “Please pick a more practical major, and minor in what you ‘love.’” “Do not drive your car in your current condition!” “If you don’t start studying for this test early, it will not go well.” “Better get that job done today, because it may snow tomorrow.” Etc. And the more we try to tell someone what they are not ready to hear, the angrier and more obstinate they become. We are stubborn creatures. Jesus knew that. He showed signs of stubbornness, himself.

Two years ago, I had to fire a client. He liked me, I liked him, he paid the bills (eventually), he had a growing business, the work was interesting. Too often, on potentially critical and dangerous (legally) matters, he did not follow my advice. He did not listen whenever I told him what he did not want to hear. Finally, I resigned from representing him. My hope is that he found an attorney who he will hear.

Whenever we recognize that someone just won’t listen, especially about Christ, we need to drop it and move on. Hounding someone with a message that they (i) won’t hear from you, or (ii) can’t hear yet, makes it worse. We all need to learn when to stop hitting that wall.

-Hugh Wellons


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