Mark 6: 1 –
he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his
disciples follow him. 2And
when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue:
and many hearing him were
astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what
wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works
are wrought by his hands?
not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and
Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?
And they were offended at him.
Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own
country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5And
he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a
few sick folk, and healed them.
he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the
he called unto
him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two;
and gave them power over unclean spirits;
commanded them that they should take nothing for their
journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their
be shod with sandals; and not put on
two coats. 10And
he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there
abide till ye depart from that place. 11And
whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence,
shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and
Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
they went out, and preached that men should repent. 13And
they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick,
and healed them.
hit me about this story. Shake off the dust. Shake off
grew up in an area where the soil was very sandy. As you drove along
the road, you might see patches in the ditches where some sad was
visible. To me, dirt was dirt. All dirt was sandy. Sand was not too
bad to walk on or drive on after a gentle rain. When you got very
sandy dirt on you, it was easy to stand up and brush off the dirt.
remember my parents explaining to me that there were different kinds
of dirt. As I got older, I started to experience the different kinds
There was gumbo clay. Walking on wet clay is not fun.
You feel like you are walking along with suction cups for shoes. Your
shoes want to stick in the mud. You might feel like you have to pry
each foot loose to walk. If you are not careful, you may find the
mud is still holding your shoe and that your efforts to walk only
resulted in your foot coming out of your shoe. Stepping into gumbo
clay with only a sock on your foot is not fun! As you take steps,
your shoes get bigger and bigger and bigger. The mud clings to your
shoes and does not want to fall off. The mud is difficult to get off
your shoes and clothes. When you've just come in from walking
through thick, wet clay, everybody knows you've been in the dirt!
You look like you've been mud bogging!
relatives of mine lived where the soil was red. As kids, we were
warned that the red dirt did not easily come out of clothes. There
was no way you could go out and play in the red dirt without your
mother knowing just what you had been doing! Getting that red dirt
out of a white shirt that you were only supposed to wear to church
could was no mean task. For some reason that is totally
incomprehensible to young children, that bothers mothers. Mothers
don't want the whole world to think their kids were playing in the
dirt all day.
Back to the Biblical story - Shake
off the dust.
word translated dust in Greek has the meaning of “rubbish”
The word is also used to refer to the dirt or dust people put in
their hair in grief or mourning.
a crown of dirt for just a moment. A gross thought? For sure.
Looks gross. Feels gross. Probably smells
Shake off the dust. God does not want God's children to wear a crown of dirt! The Eternal does not want gay,
lesbian, bisexual and trans Christians to wear the dirt of homophobes
and transphobes as a personal crown! Our Creator does not want women
to wear the crown of dirt given to them by men who refuse to
recognize the equality of women. The Ruler of the Universe does not
want people of color to wear the dirt of racist attitudes. Nor does
God want the elderly to wear the dirt of ageist societal values as a
off the dust. The crown the Eternal
has in store for you is not a crown of dirt! The Lord's children,
regardless of race, income level, social status, gender, gender
identification, or sexual orientation are not to live in a constant
state of mourning and grief.
Shake off the dust. Your
personal burdens, are heavy enough. You do not need to carry tons of
gumbo mud from the shoes of an entire unjust society on your head.
You cannot walk or run for the Lord with that much weight. When you
shake off the dirt, you do not have to worry about carrying around
other people’s burdens, or the stains of their dirt on your
Shake off the dust. Walk away from the fears, bitterness, unforgiving attitude, poisonous concepts of God, condemnation and judgment people have heaped on your head. And see the difference in your Christian walk. Leaving other people’s dirt behind is a testimony to your Christianity, to the depth of your faith. The testimony of a person who has walked through the valley of the shadow of discrimination and injustice without becoming bitter, twisted and angry is a powerful testimony that it cannot easily be written off or discounted.
King James says shaking the dust off their feet is a “testimony
who reject the disciples. I prefer the wording of the American
Standard Bible and the old Geneva Bible. The American Standard
Version say that when the disciples shake off the dust, it is a
“testimony unto them.” The old Geneva Bible says it is a
“witnes vnto them.”
stronger the rejection, the more powerful the witness. That is why
queer Christians are becoming a powerful force for God! When
Christians live out the faith with loving service to humanity, their
lives are a testimony that convicts those who rejected them. And
their lives serve as a testimony to those who witnessed the
persecution they endured as they served the Lord faithfully.
Shake off the dust. The task is easier said than done. The
Greek word translated shake off has the meaning to “shake
I get the picture of making a very conscious, dedicated effort to
get rid of the dust and dirt. Fortunately, God is up to the task.
Just as surely as the the Eternal made a powerful witness out of
Jesus life, God is working in your heart to make your life a powerful
testimony for humanity by using relentless grace to shake off the
dust of rejection you've walked through.