Many of you will know the name Brother Andrew (who was ‘promoted to glory’ in 2022): he was a missionary to Eastern Europe during the days of communism, and became famous for the book ‘God’s Smuggler’. One of the most memorable chapters of that book for me – which is one of my favourite Christian autobiographies – is the one titled ‘The Game of the Royal Way.’
It describes Brother Andrew’s evangelism training in the mid 1950s in Scotland. Naturally, a key part of their training was to go out and ‘do the stuff’ – on the streets, door-to-door, meeting anyone and everyone. In order to do this, each student was given just £1 in money (which was much more than then it is now, but probably equates to about £100 in 2022), which had to last them the whole period of their placement – I forget the exact length, but it was 4-8 weeks, something like that.
Even better, they had to return the pound at the end! All of which meant that they had to live by faith the entire time, trusting the Lord to provide day by day: ‘nothing for the journey… no bread, no bag, no money in their belts… no extra shirt.’ In short, they had to do it just like Jesus, who in today’s passage sent his disciples out in this very way. Go with nothing, Jesus says – and I will make sure you have everything you need.
The life of faith is a life of adventure with God. And whilst in our modern world most of us have insurance policies and savings accounts and all kinds of ways of giving ourselves a ‘cushion’, we still occasionally get reminders that much of our assumed security is an illusion. In the end, we rely on God.
The great news is that this God can be trusted. The apostles find this out – we’ll see the postscript to this story in a few days’ time – and we too will have stories of God’s faithfulness. Times when we came with nothing, and God provided everything. Why not take a few moments today to give thanks for those occasions?
There is a great ending to Brother Andrew’s training. Just as he was about to run out of cash a couple of days before the end of his placement, he finds a silver coin in the gutter. What a ‘coincidence’! However, he then bumps into a friend who is down on his luck, and is prompted to trust God one more time – so gives this last coin away. He heads straight back to his lodgings and bumps into the postman delivering that day’s mail. In it was a letter from his aunt with £1.50 in it… ‘The game was over. The King had done it his way.’