Until quite recently, I had always struggled with one of the more familiar scripture passages from the book of Matthew, Chapter 10, verse 14, " Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet."
This is part of the detailed set of instructions that Jesus gives His Apostles who are being sent out to preach the powerful news of His Kingdom and salvation history. He's basically telling them to offer the joy of the Good News to 'the lost sheep of Israel', healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers and driving out demons. If anyone refuses to hear their message or receive this healing grace, then the Apostle(s) should go out to the edge of town and give a visible symbol of this rejection of God's grace - "shake the dust of the town from your feet."
The understanding came quite suddenly when I least expected it one cold but sunny Saturday afternoon as I was driving home from my third errand of the day.
I was heading toward my neighborhood, focused on the road in front of me, when I began to lament over an estranged relationship with an old friend from my childhood. It was as if a trailer truck of understanding hit me between the eyes, and I understood in an instant that 1.) it would be unhealthy for me to try and renew this friendship, 2.) this person is not ready or interested in receiving any kind of spiritual friendship in their current stance on social issues, 3.) I should not expend any time or effort right now in trying to change their view of things - unless the Lord moves me to do something about it in the future, and 4.) I should not grieve losing this friend, but instead lament for the great loss that Jesus has suffered through the unwillingness of this soul to receive Him. God knows this little soul to the core, and will use other means to reach them in the meantime, never giving up, but for now this is not where He wants me to get involved.
When all of this had 'washed over me', I heard this scripture spoken to my heart, "Shake the dust from your feet." Now I understood - do not waste His precious time or the gifts He gives us on any place, person or thing that is not in God's perfect plans for us right now.
For the first time in many years I experienced a peace in the struggle of my distant relationship with this soul. For the first time in 30+ years I was able to surrender my desire to 'fix' this, and let God have the entire situation - asking Him to use me as He sees fit in all of this. I had made the assumption for decades that I should go out of my way to work on making this right - but the Lord was showing me that He is the only one that can make things right. It is my responsibility to accept His will and then 'do whatever He tells me'.
There was a great freedom in this, and I was very glad to let go of this decades-old burden.
Here was another teaching in how Jesus is calling us to lay our burdens at the foot of the Cross, and why "Jesus, I trust in You" has become the most important declaration of our time.
The Savior of the world is always waiting for me to allow Him to be the Savior of my soul - individually, intimately, completely. He waits each and every moment for me to make my choices - either for Him and in union with His will, or against Him and completely separated from His will. Every time I choose His will, peace enters in and takes up residence within my heart.
Jesus, I trust in You - to choose those who should be in my life, and how each of those relationships should be handled. Please give me the grace to hear You, and then the courage to respond with my complete "Yes, Lord". Help me to stop robbing You of Your authority in all things, and to be the little child who adores You and trusts You in all matters.