Mark – The Facts.
I have a confession to make. When Randy left teaching to “fill in” for nine years at the church we both grew up with our families, we learned many things about ministry. We had a great mentor coach like the George Weaver who was president of a seminary that Randy would attend later as an advisor. But, for me there was a greater lesson, as I worked alongside my husband, for me to learn. My lesson? We are not blessing or helping people when we do everything for them.
Randy accepted the call to full time ministry and to our home church. Our church was down to only nine devout people. Five of those people were Randy, myself and our three kids. We knew it would be a challenge that was too big for us but not too big for God who called us. So, with only teacher training and a lifetime of studying God’s Word, we began…with enthusiasm, even though we had many skeptics at the time from other church leaders.
We began to call people, visit people, walk the neighborhoods around the church inviting them to come. We held kid days at the church for free. The church grew little by little. Visitors and friends who attended said “you are different, not like regular church”. We kept at it, making mistakes along the way, but with sincere hearts to help others find and follow Jesus.
As we grew, I made the biggest mistakes of all. So that others would be “blessed” (in my small thinking), I did everything for them! Let me describe a typical Sunday. I taught all ages of children and youth in one classroom with fun and games and lots of ways to learn about Christ. Then I would take them to the sanctuary to sing while the adults where coming from their classroom with Randy and an elder.
Because I could play the piano, I would then lead worship. After the songs were sung, I then took the kids back to the fellowship hall for “children’s praise and worship”. When I knew Randy would be finishing up the sermon, I left the kids with my oldest daughter or would bring the kids back into the sanctuary quietly so I could lead the final song of worship with the adults. Does this make you tired just reading it?
I sat down one Sunday after lunch, exhausted, as the Holy Spirit admonished me, “Look around you, there are now others who need to do this with you, then do it themselves. You are doing too much, now that there are others to help. You are not blessing them by doing all things for them!” “Spread the blessing around and discover who God has brought into your fellowship to help you spread my Word of salvation!”
After repenting of diminishing the spiritual growth of others, I got up to make some calls. With Randy’s help we spread the work out among those who were now attending. It was amazing to see God’s people take a leap in their growth as his children. It was amazing the growth and maturity we saw in ourselves!
God knows what He is doing when He calls and equips us along the way for the work He is already doing…
Mark 3, The Message
The Twelve Apostles
7-10 Jesus went off with his disciples to the sea to get away. But a huge crowd from Galilee trailed after them—also from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, across the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon—swarms of people who had heard the reports and had come to see for themselves. He told his disciples to get a boat ready so he wouldn’t be trampled by the crowd. He had healed many people, and now everyone who had something wrong was pushing and shoving to get near and touch him.
11-12 Evil spirits, when they recognized him, fell down and cried out, “You are the Son of God!” But Jesus would have none of it. He shut them up, forbidding them to identify him in public.
13-19 He climbed a mountain and invited those he wanted with him. They climbed together. He settled on twelve, and designated them apostles. The plan was that they would be with him, and he would send them out to proclaim the Word and give them authority to banish demons. These are the Twelve:
Simon (Jesus later named him Peter, meaning “Rock”),
James, son of Zebedee,
John, brother of James (Jesus nicknamed the Zebedee brothers Boanerges, meaning “Sons of Thunder”),
James, son of Alphaeus,
Simon the Canaanite,
Judas Iscariot (who betrayed him).
What do we learn…
–Jesus popularity was so wide spread that needy people in search of a Healer, Messiah, Savior and Lord were coming from everywhere. People today are still searching!
–Jesus, almost crushed by the crowds, climbs a mountain and invites those who wanted to climb with Him. Jesus still invites us to climb with Him. The journey is not easy but rewarding.
–“The plan was that they would be with Him, and He would send them out to proclaim the word and give them authority to banish demons.”
–Jesus invites us to join Him in His work still today!
–Jesus invites one who will later betray Him…to be one of “The Twelve”.
–Is it not surprising that evil will try to pull others away from the work today, too? Be aware and alert.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for that lesson taught many years ago that led me to train others for Your work and leave the growing and the results to you. Thank you for helping me to get out of the way and let go so that others might grow. Thank you for inviting me to Your Work and asking me to climb the mountain with You. It has been worth it all to follow You. I’m following still…
In Jesus Name, Amen.