Getting All the Coins

Gamers who play RPG’s (especially MMO’s) tend to get familiar with certain conventions.  Less-common items are going to be colored green, followed by rarer items in blue.  Armor and weapon slots are typically drag-and-drop.  Conning an enemy as red means it’s probably meant for you to take on later in the game (or with a team).

Similarly, inventory space will probably be limited (or sometimes, depending on the game, very limited) and regular trips to town are necessary to liquidate low-value items into cash.  When this happens, while coinage varies by the type of RPG that we might be playing (space, fantasy, post-apocalyptic), the standard seems to be copper, silver, gold, and sometimes platinum.  (Notable exceptions include series whose currency is bottle caps or bullets.)

Knowing that, the following verse from the book of Matthew caught my eye:

“Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins.
Matthew 10:9 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/mat.10.9.NLT

Long before RPG’s enumerated wealth in gold, silver, and copper, Jesus had referenced them.  (In fact, much in today’s modern world is based off of His teachings, as well as the culture in which He lived and taught, so this probably isn’t a surprise.)

In a game, it would normally be illogical to head out without enough money to buy basic supplies.  Potions, stim-packs, ammo, or power cells can’t always be guaranteed to drop at the right rate to get through a mission, so some cash on hand (supplementing a well-stocked inventory) is usually a good idea.

In real life, having enough money for your next endeavor is also a good idea.  Not being able to pay for gas on a long road trip can leave one stranded.  Trying to buy too much without the right resources can quickly lead to unsustainable debt.

Jesus advises His disciples with exactly the opposite instructions, though: They are to take off with their current equipment, and head out on the mission without an entire contingency of supplies (i.e., something for every occasion that they were likely to encounter).

The difference is that they had something far more powerful than their armor, backpack, supplies, or even weapons: They had the commission (and oversight) of God himself.

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Matthew 10:28 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/mat.10.28.NLT

When Jesus calls us to something, we are essentially living in “God mode” (or, maybe a better way of saying it would be “God’s mode”.  (Let me be crystal clear: we are not gods.  Nothing of eternal significance in life is accomplished because we have superpowers or cheat codes.  Even followers of Jesus are just human, although our backpacks and carry weight definitely vary from person to person!).  When following Jesus, we are empowered to complete the quests that He sends us on, even if we take some damage along the way.

Jesus knew that God would take care of His disciples as they went on His mission.  No random-number generator could give their opposition a super-critical hit.  No out-leveled, end-game boss that they couldn’t handle was going to surface (although they definitely met some challenges above their level sometimes – see Mark 9:17-18).

May you find the strength and resources that come from following Jesus.  He doesn’t ask us to ignore the practical, but – when He promises to do so – He will take care of supplying us with what we need for His missions.

 

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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