Is It Time to Wash Your Hands?

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

Matthew 10:14 (NIV)

This is how Jesus instructed the disciples to behave when someone rejected the Gospel message or if they outright rejected their presence. The reason why they shook the dust off their feet dealt with the idea that even the dirt that the unholy walk upon is unholy. Indeed, when Hebrews would return from foreign lands, it was a common practice to shake the dust off their feet upon reentering Jewish lands.

Instructing the apostles to “shake the dust” off their feet was a grave insult to any Jew since the act indicated that those who didn’t believe or otherwise welcome them were as bad as Gentiles. We see only one instance of anyone shaking the dust off their feet in response to ridicule and unbelief in the New Testament.

So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium.

Acts 13:51 (NIV)

The “they” here are Paul and Barnabas, who, after having preached for one Sabbath in Pisidian Antioch, were asked to preach again the next. However, the Jewish leaders “stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their region.” Therefore, Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet, as seen in Acts 13:51.

As I consider Matthew 10:14 and shaking the dust off one’s feet, I wonder if there’s anyone I need to “let go.” That’s to say, shake the dust off my feet and let God deal with them. I don’t mean to stop praying for them or cast them out of my life. We must remember that those the apostles preached to were most likely one-time affairs. Not unlike a traveling missionary or evangelist who preaches somewhere and moves on. Still, some people might benefit more from us “moving on” instead of hounding them about the Lord.

The reason why is that our words have no power on their own. We can preach and teach using the Lord’s words, but if God doesn’t change someone’s heart, it won’t get changed. In fact, if we persist in trying to teach someone about the Lord and they don’t want to listen, we could cause more harm than good. The expression, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” comes to mind. This doesn’t mean we give up. Instead, it means we “give over.” We give the person over to the Lord. When you think about it, it’s silly to think that we ever had them in the first place. Indeed, if we were trying in our strength, no wonder they are not coming around.

However, no matter what the circumstances may look like, even though we might wash our hands of the situation, we should never give up on God.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe you died on the cross and were buried, and God the Father raised you from the dead on the third day. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.


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