One of the great challenges that a minister of the Gospel constantly faces is to keep his or her lifestyle simple. One of the many temptations ministers/preachers can face is that of being constantly feted by others because of the effectiveness of their ministries. I am sure that Jesus would have received countless invitations to dine with the rich and famous. What is interesting is that the Gospels usually record only Jesus’ visits to the poor and outcast. In today’s Gospel Jesus exhorts His disciples to stay in one place when they visit a new town and preach there to avoid the temptation to get on the social circuit and, well, just have a good time rather than concern themselves with the proclamation of the Gospel.

There are three major temptations that seem to be the undoing of ministries today. They are sexual temptation, power and money. These three things drastically affect the simplicity of the life of a minister of the Gospel. It is important to recognize that no one is exempt from these temptations. If we look at the history of the Church we will find all three present in the lives of the most senior and junior members of the ministry, from popes down to the part-time preachers. Sin it seems can make its way into the life of anyone and is no respecter of persons!

This makes the exhortations of Jesus in today’s Gospel all the more noteworthy and relevant! It is quite clear that Jesus wants to safeguard His disciples from temptation as much as possible. In taking nothing for their journey they are reliant upon their trust that God will provide for them through others. This is important for mission, as we constantly need to be reminded that the power and effectiveness of our ministry is dependent upon the work of the Holy Spirit and not just ourselves.

I think that it is prudent for us to examine the lives of our ministers and insist on simplicity as a true witness to the Gospel. It is not that God cannot work through other situations but that the prudent and wise minister of the Gospel will live as simple a life as possible for his or her own sake – seeking to avoid temptation as afar as it is in their power to do so. Simplicity of lifestyle will also safeguard the authenticity of the proclamation and help ensure that it will remain free from human agenda and totally reliant upon the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What sort of life do you think you are leading? Do you think your present lifestyle is a good witness to Gospel values?

Jesus, you are the one who sends and empowers us in our work for the Kingdom of God. Help us to live according to the Gospel so that our lives will always reflect the truths that we proclaim. Help us to see the worth of lives of evangelical simplicity.