Further Reflections on the “Two-by-Two” Example of Jesus

By Mark D. Roberts

September 29, 2016

Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.

Mark 6:7


A team dogsledding across the snow.In yesterday’s devotion, I began reflecting on the curious fact that Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs. They were to proclaim and enact the kingdom of God “two by two.”

The example of Jesus got me thinking about ways we live out a similar commitment in today’s world. Obviously, there are times when we have a partner, almost exactly as the disciples of Jesus did. But I’m thinking of other models that facilitate excellence in work and ministry.

For example, I have a spiritual director named Duane. I meet with him monthly to talk through what God is doing in my life. Duane mostly listens as I sort through my experience of God and their meaning. Occasionally he highlights themes or angles that I have overlooked. Duane is not a director in the sense of giving me directions for spiritual growth. Rather, he helps me attend to the Divine Director of my life. Every time I finish a session with Duane, I am grateful for his wisdom and for seeing in new ways how God is at work in and through me.

Another model of partnership that is growing in popularity is leadership coaching. In my early years of pastoring, I never heard of a pastor who had a coach. Now this is fairly common. My wife, Linda, is an executive coach for leaders in the public and private sectors. She helps these leaders excel in their work, especially by paying close attention to their own strengths and to their work relationships.

Finally, the example of Jesus reminds me of what I hear about so often among top Silicon Valley firms. Teamwork is everything. Even though brilliant individuals may start thriving companies (Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos), their success always depends on the strength of the team they assemble.

So, today, the example of Jesus inspires me to invest more in my own team, to seek wisdom from those in my life who are happy to offer it, and to make sure that my work is a shared, not a solo endeavor.


In what ways do you experience partnership in your work?

Do you have anyone in your life who helps you attend to what God is doing in and through you?

Why do you think coaching has become so popular today?

Do you share with anyone in your church the challenges and opportunities of your work?


Gracious God, thank you for creating us for community, for giving us brothers and sisters to share with us in the work of life. Thank you for new models of partnership, for spiritual directors, coaches, and good teams. Help me, Lord, in my work, to follow your example of teamwork. Thanks for this reminder today. Amen.


Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: Seek Out Advice

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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