How to Shake the Dust Off Your Feet

Have you been rejected? Then you might need to shake the dust off your feet.

What does it mean to shake the dust off your feet?

Jesus taught us how to shake the dust off our feet in Matthew 10:11-15:

“Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 

And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” (Matthew 10:11-15 NKJV).

People sometimes think that Jesus was a namby-pamby and taught us to do the same, but the reality is that Jesus is both gentle and had boundaries at the same time. The Bible says a LOT about boundaries and freedom, and this passage is no different.

In this passage, Jesus was sending His friends out among the world on a special assignment.

They were to be His hands and feet to the world. Their assignment was to preach the Kingdom, as well as to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. They were to give freely, just as God had given freely to them.

This is part of what Jesus commanded them:

“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV).

So they went out. But Jesus warned them that some places would not receive them.

Keep in mind that Jesus sent His disciples to those places, knowing full well that they would not be received. So why would He send them?

Because everybody gets a chance in the Kingdom.

God sends His rain to the just and the unjust alike. He is even waiting to return until the Gospel has been preached to ALL the world, just so that everybody can have a chance.

But He knows full well that everyone will not take advantage of their chance.

It’s a sad truth, but God will sometimes send you somewhere as part of His “Plan A,” but the people to whom He sent you will reject you. If they reject you, God will move you out into His “Plan B,” but He will make Plan B even better than Plan A was for you because He promised to work it out for your good.

As it says in Romans 8:28:

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NKJV).

So Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet if they were rejected.

Let’s look at that Scripture again and analyze the steps:

“Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 

And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” (Matthew 10:11-15 NKJV).

Note from the Greek: “Peace”

In the passage above, the original Greek language of the New Testament uses the word “eirene” (pronounced air-RAY-nay) for “peace.” This word literally means peace, prosperity, quietness, rest, tranquility, harmony between individuals, and salvation which brings peace with God.

Check out Greek word #1515 in your Strong’s Concordance to learn more!

In everyday language, this is what Jesus told them to do (see below). Read this and think about how often you could have used this same advice too:

  • Go only to people who are worthy.
  • Stay with them until you have decided for sure to leave.
  • Greet the house when you arrive.
  • Let your peace come upon that house. “Peace” is talking about the wholeness, completeness, tranquility, prosperity, and harmony with God and other people that you bring, plus the wholeness and completeness your message from God brings. (Yes, sometimes people were praying for prosperity, rest, and relief from their burdens. So God sent YOU as His answer to their prayer–but they were not willing to receive you.)
  • If the household will not accept your peace, bring your peace back into yourself and let it benefit you.
  • If anyone will not receive you or hear your words, when you leave the house or city (whether it’s a small group or a large group of people that won’t receive you), shake the dust off your feet. Their chance is over with you.

Welp.

I told you Jesus wasn’t a namby-pamby. 🙂

How familiar does this scenario feel to you? Have you been rejected too?

Do you need to shake some dust off your feet, just like the disciples did?

See, the people who didn’t receive the disciples didn’t compromise the disciples’ mission. The disciples were still successful; they still fulfilled their destiny in God! They still preached, healed, and cast out demons.

Mark 6:12-13 tells us this about the disciples’ successful journey:

“So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them” (Mark 6:12-13 NKJV).

Even on that one little mission, if the disciples were rejected, they still went to other places with their message–and their message was received.

So why did the disciples need to shake the dust off their feet when they were not received?

Because Jesus wanted the to leave the past behind.

Even if the rejection happened five minutes ago, it’s still in the past. And we have to leave the past behind in order to move forward with our mission.

Furthermore, when you shake the dust off your feet, you are doing a physical act that asserts that those people weren’t worthy and you are not responsible for their unworthiness.

God gave them a chance, but their chance (at least with you) ended. So they were to literally shake the dust off their feet to show that they refused to be impacted any more by the people who couldn’t see with the eyes of God.

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Beloved, do you need to shake the dust off your feet too?

For example:

  • Have you been in a hostile work environment in your job, and you’re finally quitting? If so, on the last day you work, shake the dust off your feet in the parking lot before you drive away.
  • Have you been in a marriage where your spouse broke covenant with you through promiscuity or abuse? Have you decided to reclaim your life and freedom and get that divorce you didn’t want to get? Shake the dust off your feet as you leave the courthouse.
  • Are you leaving a toxic church environment? Shake the dust off your feet when you drive off the property for the last time.

And YES, this literally means to shake or scrape the dust off your shoes! (You’ll find this to be a very freeing activity when you try it.)

Beloved, I know this doesn’t go along with the “Be a doormat” manner of thinking that most Christians have embraced.

However, being a doormat is not in the Bible. Turning the other cheek is a totally separate topic.

Jesus said plainly that you don’t have to stick around when other people won’t receive you, your message, and your peace. He told us to physically leave the situation and shake the dust off our feet. The people who wouldn’t receive you will face their own consequences, but YOU will continue with your Holy Ghost-filled mission.

And you will be successful.

What do you need to leave in the past today? Do you need to physically shake the dust off your feet from the people who rejected you?

If so, I dare you to do it right now. You don’t have to be on their property or in their space to do this. Just …

  • Find a solid surface and kick those boots, high heels, sandals, or sneakers against it to knock that dust off.
  • Scrape the mud off against the curb.
  • Kick those shoes against the running boards of your car.

Do what you must, but shake the dust off your feet and MOVE ON.

Is the Lord speaking to you about shaking the dust off your feet today? Do it right now, then leave a comment below and let me know how it felt!

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Jamie, does this also spy to family members? I recently moved back to my old hometown and it seems my closest relatives do not even want to hear about our beloved King Jesus. It grieves me to no end and I refuse to be ‘shut up’ by their abusive words. It often ends up in a large argument because I will not be silent about the Lord I LOVE… however it has taken a toll on my health and even on my ministry to God. I gave up my job to live in the house of an elderly relative who can’t live alone but wished to remain in her home until death. I thought I was helping but it had proved to be a huge burden. ANYWAY you get the point, that these are people who should love me and the Lord but it doesn’t seem they really care. (My 2 precious adult children live here in this town as well and looks like they have ‘followed suit’ it seems)… I am so distressed, developing a lot a bone, joint and muscle issues in my body, from possibley all the stress and constant irritation. I’m not young either. I got here just 6 months before the Covid pandemic hit the world too. I feel trapped. And I’ve said some things that I hate and wish I could take back (even if they deserved it)… please put me on your prayer list Jamie, that if I should ‘shake off the dust’ God will help me to find a way to leave. It is really only my children and grandchildren I don’t want to leave behind (the grandkids really love me and it tears my heart out that their parents appear to be lukewarm Christians (hope I’m wrong). God BLESS YOU.. this post was right in my face this morning when I opened my phone/email.

  2. This is a powerful truth I have been rejected by people I live with but I learnt a key principle following you so now I take no notice and its had an opposite effect they now want my attention, this word hit me hard because this has been something that’s affected my life a great deal in the past 2 years, I am so glad I have found your post I am so much stronger
    Lets give God thanks for his word and his truth, I really hope this encourages someone, that you can overcome

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