I saw something in this text that I had not seen before. And it will take some more study before I am fully convinced that it is present. But it was intriguing enough that I thought I would share it here (most likely will not pick this up Sunday since I am fully convinced of it).
Leadership is to be primarily mission orientated.
This is the first time that the 12 are mentioned in the book of Matthew. Within this context they are summoned and called to engage in missions.
Yes, there are a lot of other things going on here - for example the number 12 being very significant due to the fact that there were 12 tribes of Israel. I am also aware that Mark and Luke do not place the calling of the 12 in this context. But here are some reasons I feel that this idea may have merit:
First, at the end of all the gospels Jesus specifically commissions the church to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. This is the specific mission of the church. Since this is the mission of the church shouldn't the leadership be actively engaged in it.
Second, the 12 seemed to believe that missions was a vital part of what they were to do. Which is why after Jesus ascended to heaven the apostles end up personally travelling to most of the known world preaching the gospel.
Third, in the book of Acts when some widows in the church are being neglected the apostles insist that someone else be appointed to help. They refuse to get involved in this good work of caring for the people in the church. Instead they argue that they should pray and continue serving the word - which within that context carries a mission aspect to it.
I know this needs more study but it interesting because if this is true it changes many things. Often people feel that leadership in the church is primarily about caring for the people on the inside. In fact it has often been argued that we can't do missions until we take care of ourselves first. Now I am not advocating that we stop caring for each other - our greatest testimony to the world will be the love that we show one another.
But is it possible based on why and how the 12 were called that missions should become a great priority for leadership within the church today?