"And if anyone will not welcome you or refuses to listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet..." (Matthew 10:14 NIV).
Jesus is giving instructions to His disciples on how to deal with people who give a proverbial 'cold shoulder' by withholding basic human hospitality ('will not welcome you') or coldly cutting off communication ('refuses to listen to your words'). In context, Jesus' disciples were intent on sharing the good news of the kingdom, receiving into personal fellowship all those who called Jesus their Lord. But Jesus knew that some would not warmly receive His disciples and would refuse to even listen to what they had to say. Jesus gave precise instructions as to how his disciples were to respond to those who would act in this manner.
Jesus said, "Shake the dust off your feet."
Most of us have absolutely no idea what Jesus was saying because we have little or no understanding of first century Jewish expressions. Listen to what the Hebrew linguist and the great Jewish scholar John Gill says about this particular idiom:
"The Jews believed that even the dust of a heathen and wicked country contaminated them. To "shake the dust off your feet" was the Jewish way of signifying that they would have nothing more to do with those who would not welcome the people of God, or anything more to say to to those who refused to listen to their message. By shaking the dust off their feet, the Jews looked upon those who acted in this manner as impure and unholy, as they would any heathen city or country. Jesus is alluding to this custom when He speaks to His disciples. He is instructing them that there will come a time when they will need to "shake the dust off their feet" in their desire to communicate with others. By this act, they testify that the very dust they shake off their feet will rise up in judgment against them, and declare that though the good news of God's grace has been proclaimed among them, they have rjected both the messenger and the message, and as a result, will find an aggravation to their condemnation."I am not sure I have ever had to think of shaking dust off my feet and it makes me wonder if (1). I have not pursued people enough to risk being given the cold shoulder, or (2). My mind is too pre-conditioned to accept people unconditionally without thought or respect to their response to either me or my message, or (3). I, like many Christians, simply ignore the difficult words of Jesus. Sometimes I wonder if I read the Scriptures more interested in receiving what Jesus gives than I am obeying what Jesus says.
It would seem to me that if a pastor or another Christian in authority will not warmly receive you or listen to your words..."Shake the dust off your feet." If a person withholds hospitality and refuses to even let you speak... "Shake the dust off your feet." Don't be bothered. Don't get angry. Don't get even. "Shake the dust off your feet." The Lord is much wiser and far better equipped to hold the guilty accountable. The manner in which people receive God's children is the manner in which He will receive them.