Nor bag for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet a staff: for the workman is worthy of his food.
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Augustine of Hippo
Serm., 46: The Gospel therefore is not for sale, that it should be preached forreward. For if they so sell it, they sell a great thing for a small price. Let preachers then receive their necessary support from the people, and from Godthe reward of their employment. For the people do not give pay to those that minister to them in the love of the Gospel, but as it were a stipend that may support them to enable them to work.
De Cons. Evan., ii, 30: Otherwise; When the Lord said to the Apostles, “Possess not gold,” He added immediately, “The labourer is worthy of his hire,” to she why He would not have them possess and carry about these things; not that these things were not needed for the support of this life, but that He sent them in such a way as to show that these things were due to them from those to whom they preached the Gospel, as pay to soldiers. It is clear that this precept of the Lord does not at all imply that they ought not according to the Gospel tolive by any other means, t...
Nor two coats, nor shoes; i.e. provide not yourselves with another coat for a reserve, but go like poor people, who have but just what is necessary. They were not to wear shoes, but they were allowed sandals, or soles with tops tied to their feet. (Mark vi. 9.)
Nor a staff. So Luke, Chap. ix. ver. 3: yet St. Mark says, but a staff only. To reconcile these expressions, some distinguish betwixt a staff necessary to walk with (which even the poorest people had) and another staff for their defence, which at least they were not to seek for. And the meaning of these admonitions is that they were to go on their mission, not regarding whether they had a staff or not, unless it were necessary for them to walk with. (Witham)
In many Greek manuscripts we read staffs in the plural, so that Jesus Christ orders them not to take any other than the one in their hand.
Non occ.: Whence He adds, “Neither money in your purses.” For there are two kinds of things necessary; one is the means of buying necessaries, which is signified by the money in their purses; the other the necessaries themselves, which are signified by the scrip.
They are forbidden to keep gold, silver or money in their belts, to carry a wallet for their journey, to keep two tunics, or sandals, or to take a staff in hand. The laborer deserves his food. Does it not cause envy, as I believe, to carry money in one’s belt? And what does the forbidden possession of gold, silver and copper in one’s belt signify? The belt is the equipment of the ministry, and the sash helps one to work efficiently. Therefore we are warned about anything in our ministry that is of monetary value, nor should the possession of gold, silver and copper become necessary for our apostolic mission. “Take no wallet for your journey.” Leave behind any concern for worldly goods. All treasure on earth is detrimental, for where our treasure is, there our heart will be. “Nor two tunics.” The garment of Christ is all we will ever need. And, because of the depravity of our mind, we should not put on any other garment, either of a heretical sect or of the law. “Nor sandals.” Are frail...
“Nor staff.” Why do we who have the Lord as our help seek the aid of a walking stick? And since he had sent the apostles out to preach somewhat divested and ill equipped and the teachers seemed to be in difficult straits, he tempered the severity of his command with the following sentence: “The laborer deserves his living.” However, Jesus said, accept by way of food and clothing whatever you need. Jesus’ teaching is reflected in Paul’s words: “Having sufficient food and clothing, with these let us be content.” And in another place: “Let one who is instructed in the word share all good things with the teacher,” so that the disciples of those who have a healthy fear of the demonic will make them sharers of their own material goods, not because of greediness but genuine need. We said this by way of interpretation. According to another scriptural interpretation, teachers may not possess gold or silver or money in their belts. Gold is often understood to mean feeling, silver to mean speech ...
For if they preach without receiving reward for it, the possession of gold and silver and wealth was unnecessary. For had they had such, they would have been thought to be preaching, not for the sake of men’s salvation, but their own gain.
As He had cut off riches, which are meant by gold and silver, He now almost cuts off necessaries of life; that the Apostles, teachers of the true religion, who taught men that all things are directed by God’s providence, might she themselves to be without thought for the morrow.
In forbidding the scrip, “neither scrip for your journey,” He aimed at those philosophers commonly called Bactroperatae, who being despisers of this world, and esteeming all things as nothing, yet carry a bag about with them. "Nor two coats.” By the two coats He seems to mean a change of raiment; not to bid us be content with a single tunic in the snow and frosts of Scythia, but that they should not carry about a change with them, wearing one, and carrying about the other as ...
By saying “the laborer deserves his food,” Jesus is not implying that every door will be opened to you. Rather, this saying requires great prudence. It will profit you both with respect to your reputation and for meeting your needs. His meaning is that you will be given food in due season insofar as you are worthy of it. And you will be worthy of it if you ask for nothing beyond mere necessities. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily
But perhaps some one may say, that the rest may not be unaccountable, but not to have a scrip for the journey, neither two coats, nor a staff, nor shoes, why did He enjoin this? Being minded to train them up unto all perfection; since even further back, He had suffered them not to take thought so much as for the next day. For even to the whole world He was to send them out as teachers. Therefore of men He makes them even angels (so to speak); releasing them from all worldly care, so that they should be possessed with one care alone, that of their teaching; or rather even from that He releases them, saying, Take no thought how or what you shall speak.
And thus, what seems to be very grievous and galling, this He shows to be especially light and easy for them. For nothing makes men so cheerful as being freed from anxiety and care; and especially when it is granted them, being so freed, to lack nothing, God being present, and becoming to them instead of all things.
Next, lest they s...
The Lord having forbidden to make merchandize of spiritual things, proceeds to pull up the root of all evil, saying, “Possess neither gold, nor silver.”
This precept then first frees the Apostles from all suspicions; secondly, from all care, so that they may give up their whole time to preaching the word; thirdly, teaches there their excellence. This is what He said to them afterwards, “Was any thing lacking to you, when I sent you without bag or scrip?”
A happy exchange! In place of gold and silver, and the like, they received power to heal the sick, to raise the dead. For He had not commanded them from the beginning, “Possess neither gold nor silver;” but only then when He said at the same time, “Cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” Whence it is clear that He made them Angels more than men, freeing them from all anxiety of this life, that they might have but one care, that of teaching; and even of that He in a manner takes away the burden, saying, “Be not careful what ye shall speak...
The Lord shows by these words that the holy preachers were reinstated in the dignity of the first man, who as long as he possessed the heavenly treasures, did not desire other; but having lost those by sinning, he straightway began to desire the other.
He is training them in all strictness, and for this reason He allows them absolutely nothing in excess, nor to have any cares. He does not even allow them a staff, for this is the strictness of non-possessiveness which makes credible the words of one who would teach this virtue. And then, so that they might not ask, "How shall we eat?" He says, "The workman is worthy of his food"; that is, your disciples shall feed you. For they owe this to you as they would to workmen. But He said, "worthy of his food," not of delicacies, for teachers should not live luxuriously.