If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town. (Matthew 10:14)
When have you had to walk away from a situation, at least for a season?
When have you been able to reconcile a strained relationship or misunderstanding?
When have you been hurt by rejection?
We often use today’s verse as justification for moving on, and moving on is important at times. When we are in an unhealthy situation, we need to move on. There are times, we get to go back, when we are healthy enough to deal with the situation with new coping strategies, but that’s not “going back” as much as “moving forward” with new tools.
In this verse, we often focus on the “if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet,” leaving the rest of the sentence hanging. The word when stands out to me. It indicates that perhaps there is purpose in not leaving immediately at times. If we were always to leave immediately, wouldn’t it finish with “and go immediately from that house or town”?
Only God can help us discern when to stay and when to go. Again, it we’re being hurt or threatened, we need to move on and get to a safe place, but this situation is a little different. It refers to the situations in which we are trying to share Jesus’ story with others. It doesn’t say we try once and give up. It also clearly doesn’t say we stay an unlimited amount of time and keep trying. But when we discern the best time to leave, we shake the dust off our feet, which means we move on without any regrets or hindrances. We focus on the next house or town. Who is to say God won’t have us loop back to that house or town later, but for the season, we need to move on. There is something ahead that needs our focus, and if we live in the guilt and regrets of “what if I had said something differently,” we’ll miss out on our next opportunity. When we follow Him well, we do so with our whole heart, embracing when and for how long He tells us.
Set your phone alarm to every hour today. When it goes off, ask if you are where God wants you to be. Adjust as He guides throughout the day.