Mark 6:11 – And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them. (NIV)
I've only once shaken the dust off my feet where I felt I wasn't welcome. It took place many years ago while I was still a student minister in Glasgow, Scotland. My brother-in-law, Billy, went to buy some record albums (I told you it was a long time ago) with a voucher that my wife and I had bought him for Christmas. Because he was using a gift certificate, the store owner charged him extra, even although the certificate had been purchased in the very same store. The owner said that he was not allowed to apply the discounts that the record companies gave for cash sales. Billy was being charged the full price for the albums that he wanted, and not the regular price that he expected.
I was livid when I heard this and marched down to the store. I must have argued with the owner for about thirty minutes. If I had given Billy cash he could have purchased more for his money, but because I paid for a gift certificate, he was being penalized.
Usually the customer is always right, but in this particular case, the store owner wouldn't budge. I can remember storming out of the door, but before I did, I wiped the dust of my feet in a fit of self-righteous indignation. I felt sure that God would intervene and close the store. It never happened. I think the record store, which may now sell CDs and DVDs, still exists.
When the disciples were given Christ's instructions to wipe the dust from their feet, it was to be used sparingly. Only in those places where they were spurned or the Gospel was rejected, was this action to be taken. It was a mark of judgment upon that place. It was an eternal indicator that God's favour had been shunned.
I guess the nearest that we ever come to experiencing this occurs when people reject Christ in their lives. Their hearts are hardened against His words of reconciliation, forgiveness, and salvation. They don't want to accept who Christ is, or what He says, so their souls are bereft of His grace. Instead of receiving the everlasting blessings of His sacrifice, they insist on paying the full price, which means that their souls are lost forever. That's why it is so important to share our faith with our loved ones, our neighbours, and our friends. Without Christ, they are doomed. With Him, they are saved from themselves.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we don't like to think about salvation not being applied to everyone. We know that there are people in our lives who reject You because they don't want to accept You in their hearts or humble themselves before You. Help us to find words and ways that will challenge and change their ideas and opinions about You, so that they may also receive the eternal gifts of love, happiness, and peace that only You can give to them. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.