If it seems like Jesus us jumping on his disciples with both feet, that is probably because he is. Mark 9.38-50 is one of the testier parts of the Gospel of ark where Jesus is working on the Twelve to get them thinking more about the kingdom and the needs of other people while at the same time thinking and worrying less about themselves and their lives.
The Gospel this week is about reminding the Twelve of what ministry is really all about. The Apostle John speaks up and points out that they found a man doing what they can do, but he would not fall under their authority, so they tried to stop him from doing ministry at all. It occurs to me that the greatest sign of the kingdom, which is what ministry does. Is your own relationship with Jesus and how you live it out with him and with others? In fact, it is about “being weird” as we live in this world and as we walk into the next one.
Leading ministry does not mean that the leader owns it. Ownership belongs to God and that makes us stewards of what Good has and what God wants done. Jesus points out to the Twelve that it is better and wiser for them to allow people who can do these things t do them because they will not turn on Jesus or the community easily, having done them. It also occurs to me that while ministry needs to be under authority and to be accountable for what is done (because it enables testimony and celebration) it is not just for the chosen few who lead nor is it just about “the Minister”. Moreover, is it not a sin to leave a person in their pain and sorrow, sin and sickness because the right people do not control that particular person? “Whoever is not against us, is for us.”
And let’s look a little deeper into the life of ministry and what we do with how we live and how we act. Jesus’ solution to dealing with what makes us sin and fall, is pretty radical, but it is not our bodies he wants dealt with. It is our capacity to be able to sin. We need to be radical in dealing with your sin. How do we do that?
Here is some things to consider before you move to radical surgery:
- · Be very careful what you pick up and what you put down; not just with your hands but with your tongue as well. – Let your conversation be seasoned with salt.
- · Be wise in walk you walk into and what you walk away from.
- · Be compassionate with those you choose to see and those you choose to not see.
You show were you are going to live by how you are living. Choose to be salt and light, even if it means sometimes being salt in the wound or light in the eyes. It will sting, it can hurt but then it will heal, life will be restored and all that will be left is a scar as a reminder of how gracious God is. And one last thing? Patience in serving and under suffering brings joy and freedom to those who need it most, including the servant.