Matthew: Day 9

Jesus Sends the Twelve


Today's Text: Matthew 10:1-42, Acts 1:13, James 2:1-7

Scripture Reading: Matthew 10:1-42, Acts 1:13, James 2:1-7

Have you ever received a gift with no strings attached? Many of us may recall the joy of receiving Christmas presents as a child. When you’re young there are no expectations of repayment; the gift is freely given, and certainly, freely taken.

Do you also know what it’s like to receive a gift with strings attached? Maybe you “won” a free night at the hotel in exchange for a timeshare meeting, or your friend loaned you their car with an unspoken debt to pay. It’s not so fun to receive a gift and find out later it wasn’t really free.  

The gift of salvation can only be received freely like a child. “Life to the fullest” is free to us because our generous God paid the price with His own Son (John 10:10). Not to mention, we couldn’t pay the fair value for such a precious present, even if we tried. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

When Jesus sent out His twelve disciples for the first time, He warned them about the quid-pro-quo economy of the world (Matthew 10). Jesus was well aware that when you start healing people, driving out demons, or raising people from the dead, there will be loved ones willing and eager to compensate you.

But Jesus does not want people to believe they can buy God’s love or favor. The Lord doesn’t want you to confuse the gospel with a bait-and-switch timeshare meeting. Christ warned the disciples against the temptation to take those payments. He reminded them that they had received spiritual gifts without paying for them, so they should not charge others. Freely you received, freely give,” He instructed them (Matthew 10:8).

We might not expect our neighbor or coworker to pay us money for our encouragement or service, but do we secretly expect them to pay us back with social favors or reciprocated acts? Are there spiritual gifts the Lord has given you that He wants you to spill out onto others lavishly? If you’ve been given the spiritual gift of encouragement, encourage others in the faith freely. If God has given you the spiritual gift of service, serve with a heart of generosity.

Everything we have has been given to us. When we remember that our salvation, financial resources, and spiritual gifts are purely by the grace of God, we become stewards instead of hoarders. As followers of Christ sent into the world, we are given the same instructions as the twelve disciples. Give away the most valuable gift of God’s love at no charge, because that is how we all received it—freely.  


Kaitie Stoddard is a professional counselor who recently relocated from Chicago to Colorado with her husband. She has her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is passionate about helping couples and families find healing in their relationships. On any given weekend you’re likely to find Katie snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, checking out new restaurants with friends, or catching up on her favorite Netflix and podcast series.

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  • Leah Chelsen


  • Cheryl Stark


  • I’m not a biblical scholar but I believe He chose Judas to fulfill scripture. He also chose Peter who betrayed Him even though Peter repented. Come to think of it He chose us all even though at times we betray Him by not doing what we know He would have us do.

  • question….help me on this one…I know God works in mysterious ways and we can’t fully understand why He does certain things. But why would He have chosen Judas as one of his 12 disciples if He knew that Judas would betray Him???

    • Christina Driessen

      I am in no way an expert on the Bible and am new to reading it but here are my thoughts: Why would God choose any of us? We fail him constantly, each in our own way, but just because we fail him doesn’t mean he can’t use us in profound ways. Do we know what happens to Judas after Jesus ia crucified? Where can I read about that?

  • Lindsey Bailey

    My one word for this year is ‘Give’- to give of the talents and resources God has freely given me. I pray that God opens my eyes to see opportunities to give away the spiritual gifts He has placed in my life. ‘Freely you received, freely give.’ I think I secretly want some sort of compensation, but I pray God purifies my heart and motives. Ultimately the spiritual gifts that I give should result in the ultimate gift of eternal salvation for those who are lost. Jesus. Align my heartbeat with yours.

  • God help me to be a better steward of my money and talents so I can serve others with them in better ways.

  • Marian Jones

    His timing is so perfect!

  • Valerie Cupo

    And as I have struggled the last few days with critics of my faith, this was so important to be reminded. He does not expect me to value myself by any other human opinion.

  • Kellye Burgos

    The ‘stewards not hoarders’ hit me today. I’ve been raised to hoard and think of my self 1st, like a competition over others and this has been difficult not to hoard my gifts to freely give. It’s become easier but it’s taking time

  • Everything we have has been given to us. When we remember that our salvation, financial resources, and spiritual gifts are purely by the grace of God, we become stewards instead of hoarders. As followers of Christ sent into the world, we are given the same instructions as the twelve disciples. Give away the most valuable gift of God’s love at no charge, because that is how we all received it—freely.

  • Chaney Shadrock

    I needed. Freely I will give, as I have freely received.

  • Jennifer Vaughn-Estrada

    Good post. Thanks.

  • Melanie Bisson

    What a beautiful message. I know my job and my finances are from Him, but how easy it is to forget and think we are in control. As I prepare for my first child and wonder how we’ll afford it all, I’m humbled and saddened at my selfishness when I realize I already have so much and have so much room to make sacrifices. Thank you for this reminder and thank you Jesus for the continued mercy and gifts.

  • Amanda Morgan

    Wow. The lord has opened my eyes and heart to my ways of being lately.. I’ve been conditional with my encouragement, love, and giving away blessings. First wanting them to be given to me by others. I’ve been called and given the gifts freely.. who am I to ask for encouragement, love, support, and understanding others when my Father has freely given and will continue to do so. When I become love and encourage others.. I feel loved and encouraged. The moment I become a hoarder I feel as such.. living in scarcity of the very things I am wanting. Woah. My intention is to be freely loving, compassionate, encouraging, and supportive… always. ❤️

  • help me to not hoard your love, God, but to share it and share it freely. amen! ♡

  • Carrie Forrester

    34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. ”

    Can anyone explain this to me? Why did Jesus say he did not come to bring peace?

    • Dana

      Think not that I am come … – This is taken from Micah 7:6. Christ did not here mean to say that the object of his coming was to produce discord and contention, for he was the Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 11:6; Luke 2:14; but he means to say that such would be one of the effects of his coming. One part of a family that was opposed to Him would set themselves against those who believed in him. The wickedness of men, and not the religion of the gospel, is the cause of this hostility. It is unnecessary to say that no prophecy has been more strikingly fulfilled; and it will continue to be fulfilled until all unite in obeying his commandments. Then his religion will produce universal peace. Compare the notes at Matthew 10:21.
      But a sword – The sword is an instrument of death, and to send a sword is the same as to produce hostility and war.
      From Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

    • Kathy

      Throughout chapter 10, Jesus is warning the disciples that His message will not be accepted by everyone. Keep reading through verses 35-37. When we come to Christ, we are excited to share it with everyone, but we will face persecution and rejection from others, including family members who just don’t get it. We may lose relationships with people because of our faith, but we have to love Jesus more than our family and be willing to give up our way of life for His way. (vs.39) Otherwise, why would he stick up for us in Heaven if we didn’t stick up for Him on earth? (vs.33) Believers may have to face the sword of persecution or the sword that divides friends and family, but in the end it’s worth it. We will never have complete peace and wholeness on earth, but praise Jesus it all awaits in Heaven!

    • Kimone

      I read in the Amplified version in the Bible App it tends to break down verses.
      That particular verse spoke to division that comes about from unbelief vs belief. Which is why it then went on to say one’s enemy will be those of his household.
      You can also check out different commentaries. Matthew Henry is very good.

      Hope that helped. God bless you.

    • Amanda Cotton

      I marked a cross reference verse: James 4:4: “…Do you not know friendship with the world is enmity with God?”

      Jesus has come to redeem a broken world, but many are content to continue running from God. And this is naturally going to cause some strife among families and friends. “What do you mean you aren’t comfortable gossiping about Sally Sue with me anymore? You used to do it all the time? Are you now too good for that?? Too good to be friends me too??”

      Jesus is just saying that we are to love God more than we love the world we live it. He is calling us to be set apart; and that’s hard, and He doesn’t want us to be surprised that it won’t all be roses and rainbows or that people won’t always praise us for walking with Him. Praise God though for agreeing to walk with us as we go. ❤️

    • Erin Richard

      Wow. Amber and Amanda, thank you so much for your thorough and thoughtful explanations. This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today.

    • Carrie Forrester

      Wow thank you all! Great explanations!!!

  • Bridget Vaschak

    Thank you!! Happy Tuesday, Haylee!

  • Bridget Vaschak

    *hit send before I was done-oops.
    … and doing that takes my focus off God and puts in on me.

  • Bridget Vaschak

    Even though I don’t think I expect “repayment” from someone when I have poured into that person’s life very intentionally and at cost, I can not help but notice the lack of acknowledgement from this person. And it hurts. Especially when I would have liked support back during a recent difficult time I went through. But here is the thing: I have no right to expect back. I gave. End of story. I gave because God enabled me to give. He is the hero of the story, I am not. I wrestle with these kinds of feelings often, and on a bad day, I can focus on this person’s lack of acknowledgement and support

    • Haylee Roberts

      Hey Bridget! I think this is a very natural feeling because of our flesh and our desires for more. I will be praying that you can forgive and relinquish that expectation from this person who so clearly needed your help and love. Happy Tuesday!!

    • Kirsten LaShure

      Hello Bridget!
      Being a human is something we all battle with daily! You’re on the right track realizing that it is God who enables you to help. Maybe if you think about it this way: instead it is not you who is helping, it is God helping them THROUGH you. And we should all just pray that they are acknowledging and thanking God for giving them the resources they needed. Even if it was at your disposal.

      However, admittedly, the hardest thing to do is continue to give without KNOWING they’re thankful.

      • Jen K

        Thank you for this perspective, Kirsten. You never know when your insight will reach someone. Today, this spoke to me. I’ve let a “perceived unthankful” person weigh on my heart for awhile, not acknowledging I did what God wanted me to do. And, knowing this person and her upbringing, I am sure she has already thanked Jesus.

  • Wow. Short and quite convicting. Oh, Father, help me to not hide and hoard the gifts you’ve given me (those internal and external)– help me to remember that your gifts do not run dry.

  • Sometimes we chose not to share our spiritual gifts when we should share them freely. This devotional reminds us to not be afraid to share them! Amen and praise Jesus Holy Name.

  • What a convicting passage in Matthew! I love that the disciples were to rely on the hospitality of others and to trust God to provide for their physical needs at all times as well as the words they were to speak! What you hear in the dark, speak in the light! My prayer is to be so attuned to Gods voice that I proclaim his words in the light to everyone around me. Give me eyes to see those around me that I can bestow lavishly gifts upon without sealing rewards or returns. May I love freely, be peaceful as a dove and wise as a serpent in Jesus’ Name. Forgive me Lord for often living for myself- focused on my own worries, my own ambitions and my own selfishness. Help me to walk as the disciples did with you always in front of them and beside them, consuming their every thought and every move.

  • Amanda Johnson

    Praying today that I will stop using my gifts and my resources selfishly but that I will start to give them freely as they were intended.

  • “”How can you believe when you accept praise from one another?” Nothing can cure you of the desire to receive glory from men or of the sensitiveness and pain and anger that come when it is not given, but seeking alone the glory that comes from God. Let the glory of the all-glorious God be everything to you. You will be freed from the glory of men and of self and be content and glad to be nothing. Out of this nothingness you will grow strong in faith, giving glory to God, and you will find that the deeper you sink in humility before Him, the nearer He is to fulfill every desire of your faith.” From the book “Humility” by Andrew Murray. Reading these two together today was a tremendous challenge.

  • Michelle Dogterom

    Great reminder that God’s love and grace come with no strings attached. My mind was constantly drawn back to the thought that God is not a “To Do” list; we can’t earn his love because his very nature is love. Every act we do should stem from our love and gratitude for him. It should never be something we do to feel like we have to earn salvation or pay him back.

  • Diane Huntsman

    Become a steward rather than a hoarder.. words to remember.

  • Tracy Sims

    Lord, please help me to give my gifts freely and to not live in fear. Amen!

  • Pam White

    Wow! “When we remember that our salvation, financial resources, and spiritual gifts are purely by the grace of God, we become stewards instead of hoarders.” I have never thought about the idea of hoarding spiritual gifts, but it truly makes sense to me now. Praying that I will be more mindful of this and willing to step outside of my comfort zone to use my gifts in stewardship.

  • Give freely and without partiality. This idea struck me this morning, and I realized there is very little we seem to do in life where we give freely and without partiality. I can’t even seem to give love without having some sort of expectation that something will be given in return wether it’s gratitude or returned love and kindness. Lord, help me to remember that you give to me freely and without partiality, and I should do the same!

  • It was the passage in James that stirred my heart this morning! Lord, heal my sinful heart from showing favoritism. All are deserving of a cup of cold water, offered in Jesus name.

  • Churchmouse

    Risk assessment. That’s what I see Jesus stressing to His disciples. Jesus is preparing and releasing them with His message. He is honest and forthright about the rewards and challenges of following Him. Being His follower would require wisdom, tenacity, discernment and courage. Being a Christian is not for the faint of heart. Why then do I get upset with those who don’t readily accept the Good News I share? Why do I get frustrated when I am misunderstood and mocked because of my faith? I feel those emotions yet I know better. I have been told and I have been warned. I know the risks. He has told me. He has told us. Let us shake off the dust and keep moving forward, persistently and confidently. We know the risk /reward ratio. And so… We choose to follow Jesus. No turning back. Lord, find us faithful.

    • Arielle

      This is what I noticed most about the reading, too. He didn’t send them out with lofty expectations of revival and rejoicing – but expecting rejection and persecution. I also hear him encouraging them in the authority he’s given them, and the worthiness of their message (and selves). This worthiness is not determined by the reception of the message – it is inherent and immovable.

    • Cindy

      Yes, wow…. Thank you Churchmouse…

    • G

      Thank you churchmouse! I needed that, for this week some of my family members mocked how much I believe in Jesus. “It’s just to much, it was a coincidence” they tell me.

  • Lisa Olsen

    The verses that always stick out to me when reading this are Matthew 10:38-39. It is so easy to cling to the things of this world, pushing aside the greatest treasure we have been given in Christ!

  • I think it’s easier to boldly proclaim the Gospel to those who may seek to kill you or persecute you than it is to do so at your job, or to your family and friends. Why is it easier to risk your physical self than to risk the social awkwardness? What I wish to see are more ideas about how to minister to those you see everyday whether you live with them, do life with them, or work with them rather than those who are strangers that you may never see again. If my workplace and my home is a mission field, how do I begin to show the love of Christ and share that love while not shying away from the fact that the reason I am “being nice” is because of Christ…

    • Christen

      I tend to struggle with the people I’m closest to, particularly a brother who has decided he is agnostic. For me I believe this is where I need to live out the gospel daily and use words only when necessary. I have a few people in my life who not only refuse to believe, but if you bring up Jesus they begin to become hardened and argumentative. This is where I struggle with when to use words so it is my daily prayer to just walk out my life as a follower and it’s a struggle not to be bold and screaming from the rooftops what they’re missing out on. I believe it is important to know when to be bold and our actions and speech and when we need to be meek. I don’t shy away from my belief in or my reliance on Jesus. I speak often about my life and my beliefs and pray and trust the Holy Spirit to speak through me when their hearts are softened.

    • Danielle S

      I agree, sharing the gospel with the people closest to us seems to be the hardest. I often feel overwhelmed as the only believer in my home, my immediate family and my husband’s immediate family. I am so thankful that it isn’t up to me to convince them to accept the Good News. God is the One who changes hearts and I am blessed with the opportunity to work alongside Him in this mission. When I let go of that false weight of responsibility, I am free to live out my life openly and honestly following Jesus and praying for opportunities to share. It is often my actions and not my words through which God opens the door for softening of hearts and opening of ears.

  • Amanda Massey

    Beautiful reading again today… so much goodness to take in and let it soak. I am thankful for the authority given to me through Jesus our King. I am thankful that the Spirit of our Father will speak for me when needed and that God alone preserves my soul… that no man in this world can take that away from me… no matter the physical pain that I may have to endure for a fleeting moment… but my soul is eternally preserved by God’s grace. I am worthy in Jesus’ eyes… worthy to be saved. I will continue to take up my cross, die to my old sinful ways, and walk in God’s Will. I pray for God’s continued guidance/help and praise Him for His unwaivering faithfulness for us all. ♡

  • Shannon Oros

    So challenged by this as I go into work today. I need to love my coworkers, my students, my boss, everyone with the love of Jesus uninhibited, boldly, without regard, and without expectations. So thankful for the perfect model of this we have in Christ! ❤

    • Amanda Massey

      I loved that as well Shannon… without expectations! Lol… I have learned about myself that I have judged others based on how they reciprocated kind gestures… how vain was I? Lol I see now that I would rather my reward be in heaven and not reciprocated here on earth. ;-) Freely I have recieved, freely I will give. ♡ yep, loved that part too. I am also about to go work with students. God bless you and your good work!

    • anne jones

      thank you Shannon, I am challenged in the same way. I pray for the strength and energy to face everyday with a heart like Jesus

  • Lottie Williams

    Found Matt 10 v32-33 and v38-39 to be the most challenging. Must pray that God takes away fear of man in me and emboldens me to share this gift of life that he offered to me through the service of precious friends.

    • Aubrey

      Lottie, thanks for your comment… I too find this challenging. I am very much a people pleaser and it has been my most recent prayer that God would help me overcome this trait and use it for Him. While I do not think its bad to have those desires, when they begin to become greater than doing what is right in any given situation, it begins to create a problem. Sometimes, doing the right thing is not the most popular with men… that is hard to accept. But, God gives the strength that we need!

      • Lauren

        I highlighted these verses as well and find them to be difficult too. Lord, help us to be bold in you no matter the cost. Help us to always listen to your still, small voice and have our eyes fixed on the end goal of spending eternity with you in Heaven.

        Praying for your ladies this morning. Aubrey, one of my daughter’s is Aubrie as well :)

    • Juliana Kaeble

      That’s always been the one I’ve had to work through, too. You’re not alone. Praying for you (and myself) to be bold with His name and to better understand the love He has given us so we can better share it with others.

    • Jo Gistand

      This is something I need to work on too. To be bold for Christ is very challenging, but I know he commands us to do so.

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