The second cluster meeting of the partner churches participating in the Partnership for Missional Church project was this weekend. Friday evening we were Dwelling in the Word again in Luke 10:1-12. In verses 8 and 9 Luke quotes Jesus as saying to eat what is put in front of you, heal the sick, and proclaim that the Kingdom of God is near.
One person commented that Jesus may have been telling us something about how to become missional by the order in which he listed these activities - eat, heal, proclaim. I think he may be on to something.
It has not been uncommon in any mission activities I have been familiar with to focus on getting right to the proclaiming. The one exception that comes to mind has been medical missions, which typically combine some healing with the proclaiming. I don't remember a mission effort that focused much on eating, but perhaps we should rethink that as we attempt to be more missional.
Eating implies relationship. Healing implies meeting physical and emotional needs. If we build relationship and address needs, we overcome barriers that prevent the message we proclaim from being heard. And we more closely reflect the way that Jesus went about his mission.