Shrewd as Snakes, Harmless as Doves

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Matthew 10:16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.”

When Jesus sent out His twelve disciples, He didn’t give any illusions to what they would be up against. This certainly wasn’t going to be a cakewalk. They would experience: 

  • Evil spirits, every disease and illness (10:1)
  • The “lost sheep” of Israel (10:6)
  • The sick, dying, dead, leprous, and demon possessed (10:8)
  • A lifestyle with no food, money, or possessions (10:9-10)
  • People who would welcome them, and people who would not (10:11-14)
  • The physical pain and humiliation of being flogged and whipped (10:17)

The text doesn’t provide any indication that Jesus’ disciples hesitated, but you can imagine them standing in a circle and subtly looking around at the others while thinking, Are we seriously going to do this? But Jesus provided one additional piece of wisdom for what they were about to experience. 

“Be as shrewd as snakes and as harmless as doves.” 


     MATTHEW 10:5-25 (also read the commentary notes in your Study Bible of choice.)

QUESTION: How would being “as shrewd as snakes and as harmless as doves” be good advice for Jesus’ disciples? In what ways may it be good wisdom for the things you experience as a follower of Jesus? Be specific. 

REAL LIFE PRACTICE: Practice breath prayers throughout the day. Breathe in with the first part of the prayer, then exhale with the second. Some examples include: “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.” “Speak Lord, I am listening.” “You are the potter, I am the clay.” “Peace. Be still.”

Take a Step: Remember to continue utilizing the One Minute Pause app throughout the week. If possible, begin to explore and practice the 3, 5 or 10 minute pause to more deeply root yourself in Christ.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I confess that I am sometimes too shrewd without being as gentle as a dove, or I am too gentle and gracious and gloss over important truths. Continue to help me maintain a healthy balance of both grace and truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

(End with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: