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Shaking the Dust Off
Mark 6: 1-13
1 And he went out from
thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue:
and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this
man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that
even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter,
the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon?
and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
4 But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in
his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5 And
he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a
few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their
unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. 7 And he called
unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and
gave them power over unclean spirits; 8 And commanded them that they
should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip,
no bread, no money in their purse: 9 But be shod with sandals; and not
put on two coats. 10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye
enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. 11
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence,
shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily
I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in
the day of judgment, than for that city. 12 And they went out, and preached
that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed
with oil many that were sick, and healed them. Something hit me about
this story. Shake off the dust. Shake off the dust.
I grew up in an area where the soil was very
sandy. As you drove along the road, you might see patches in the ditches
where some sad was visible. To me, dirt was dirt. All dirt was sandy.
Sand was not too bad to walk on or drive on after a gentle rain. When
you got very sandy dirt on you, it was easy to stand up and brush off
I remember my parents explaining to me that there were different kinds
of dirt. As I got older, I started to experience the different kinds of
There was gumbo clay. Walking on wet clay is not fun. You feel like
you are walking along with suction cups for shoes. Your shoes want to
stick in the mud. You might feel like you have to pry each foot loose
to walk. If you are not careful, you may find the mud is still holding
your shoe and that your efforts to walk only resulted in your foot coming
out of your shoe. Stepping into gumbo clay with only a sock on your foot
is not fun! As you take steps, your shoes get bigger and bigger and bigger.
The mud clings to your shoes and does not want to fall off. The mud is
difficult to get off your shoes and clothes. When you've just come in
from walking through thick, wet clay, everybody knows you've been in the
dirt! You look like you've been mud bogging!
Some relatives of mine lived where the soil was red. As kids, we were
warned that the red dirt did not easily come out of clothes. There was
no way you could go out and play in the red dirt without your mother knowing
just what you had been doing! Getting that red dirt out of a white shirt
that you were only supposed to wear to church could was no mean task.
For some reason that is totally incomprehensible to young children, that
bothers mothers. Mothers don't want the whole world to think their kids
were playing in the dirt all day.
Back to the Biblical story - Shake off the dust.
The word translated dust in Greek has the meaning of rubbish and dirt.
The word is also used to refer to the dirt or dust people put in their
hair in grief or mourning.
Picture a crown of dirt for just a moment. A gross thought? For sure.
Looks gross. Feels gross. Probably smells gross.
Shake off the dust. God does not want God's children
to wear a crown of dirt! The Eternal does not want gay, lesbian, bisexual
and trans Christians to wear the dirt of homophobes and transphobes as
a personal crown! Our Creator does not want women to wear the crown of
dirt given to them by men who refuse to recognize the equality of women.
The Ruler of the Universe does not want people of color to wear the dirt
of racist attitudes. Nor does God want the elderly to wear the dirt of
ageist societal values as a crown.
Shake off the dust. The crown the Eternal has in store
for you is not a crown of dirt! The Lord's children, regardless of race,
income level, social status, gender, gender identification, or sexual
orientation are not to live in a constant state of mourning and grief.
Shake off the dust. Your personal burdens, are heavy
enough. You do not need to carry tons of gumbo mud from the shoes of an
entire unjust society on your head. You cannot walk or run for the Lord
with that much weight. When you shake off the dirt, you do not have to
worry about carrying around other people's burdens, or the stains of their
dirt on your clothes.
Shake off the dust. Walk away from the fears, bitterness,
unforgiving attitude, poisonous concepts of God, condemnation and judgment
people have heaped on your head. And see the difference in your Christian
walk. Leaving other peoples dirt behind is a testimony to your Christianity,
to the depth of your faith. The testimony of a person who has walked through
the valley of the shadow of discrimination and injustice without becoming
bitter, twisted and angry is a powerful testimony that it cannot easily
be written off or discounted.
The King James says shaking the dust off their feet is a testimony against
those who reject the disciples. I prefer the wording of the American Standard
Bible and the old Geneva Bible. The American Standard Version says that
when the disciples shake off the dust, it is a testimony unto them. The
old Geneva Bible says it is a witness unto them.
The stronger the rejection, the more powerful the witness. That is why
queer Christians are becoming a powerful force for God! When Christians
live out the faith with loving service to humanity, their lives are a
testimony that convicts those who rejected them. And their lives serve
as a testimony to those who witnessed the persecution they endured as
they served the Lord faithfully.
Shake off the dust. The task is easier said than done.
The Greek word translated shake off has the meaning to shake violently.
I get the picture of making a very conscious, dedicated effort to get
rid of the dust and dirt. Fortunately, God is up to the task. Just as
surely as the Eternal made a powerful witness out of Jesus life, God is
working in your heart to make your life a powerful testimony for humanity
by using relentless grace to shake off the dust of rejection you've walked
 Rick Meyers. e-book - Strong's Hebrew
and Greek Dictionaries. e-Sword. Version 6.5.0 Computer Software. (Leiper's
Fork, TN - www.e-sword.net).
 Spiros Zodhiates. The Complete Word Study Dictionary. (Chattanooga,
TN: AMG Pub., 1992),1478.
 e-book - Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
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