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“Shake Off the Dust”

February 27th, 2005

“And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave,
shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them”

(Mark 6:11)

The word “dust” occurs seven times in the New Testament (Strong’s 286). Most of these uses are about moving on after attempting to communicate the gospel where it was not welcomed. For example, in Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas were harshly treated in Antioch in Pisidia. They actually drove them out of the city (13:50). It was at this point that they [Paul and Barnabas] actually carried out the Lord’s directive to “shake off the dust…as a testimony against them.” Acts 13:51 records: “But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.” Notice in the next verse, Acts 13:52, that “the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Active Christians know what it is like to invest in people, only to have those same individuals show ingratitude or simply not respond to the gospel. It is important, therefore, that Christians understand that those who reject them are actually rejecting the Lord (see Ex. 16:8; 1 Sam. 8:7; Lk. 10:16; Jn. 12:48). We mustn’t stop investing in people; believing in the best, while being prepared for the worst. We might recommend that every Christian take to heart the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the
Lord your labor is not in vain.”

The Bible plainly teaches that not all will be interested in the gospel; and even those who are curious may never become committed (Matthew 7:14,21). So, remember to dust off, look up, and move on. The Lord is with you (Matthew 28:20).

-Robert M. Housby

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