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Why 'salute no man by the way'?

Submitted: 3/12/2007
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Question: These verses seem to prohibit interaction between people. What are we to learn from this exortation to 'salute no man by the way'? In Luke, those exhorted seemed to be on a general discipling mission while in Kings it seemed to be a specific mission for physical healing. Is this just an exhortation not to get sidetracked? Are we to pass by certain people and not witness to them? Thank you. Luke 10:4 'Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.' 2 Kings 4:29 'Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child.'

Answer: In both of these passages, someone was being sent on a God-ordained mission of healing/salvation. The phrase 'salute no man by the way' means exactly what you have suggested: don't allow yourself to be sidetracked from your mission. We should not interpret this as meaning that there are some people we should not witness to. But we should understand that there are some who will consume our time while not really being interested in God. We must be careful to not get distracted from our larger mission by pouring all of our time and resources into a lost cause. Discerning when this is the case is the great challenge. But then, this is why we have the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ for consultation.