Mark 6 and Ministry

Last Sunday I preached from Leviticus 8 about the consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood. I highlighted Jesus as our Great High Priest who truly “meets our need” (Heb. 7:26). And then I focused on the idea of the “priesthood of all believers.” I used it as a call for every Christian to see him or herself as a minister, to be deeply involved in the lives of others, ultimately pointing them to Jesus. I said that to be in up to our ear lobes in ministry is the great purpose for our lives here on earth.

On Monday morning I was second-guessing whether that was the right call. I never want people to leave a sermon with the idea that they just need to do more. I’m sensitive to burning people out. I realize that in my being in up to my ear lobes in ministry sometimes sinful frustration and resentment can come out.

Then in my regular Bible reading plan I began to read Mark 6. “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'” Jesus gives rest. He says it’s okay when you’re in ministry up to your ear lobes to take a break and be refreshed. Maybe I was off in my emphasis and needed to stress the rest for the weary more. Certainly boundaries and time off and recognizing your limits is wise and necessary.

But then I read what came next and made a connection that I never had seen before. As they were trying to get away, a new crowd coalesced around Jesus and his disciples. They were more people in need of ministry. “When Jesus… saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” Jesus didn’t say, “I’m on vacation. Go away.”

And then, get this: When the day was getting late and the disciples pointed out that these people would need to eat and should be dismissed, Jesus called his tired disciples to serve them. Was he crazy? They had already done a ministry trip. They were in need of some rest. They had next to nothing – five loaves and two fish. And yet Jesus multiplied that miniscule amount and fed five thousand people through his disciples!

We shouldn’t feel bad calling people to minister above their abilities or resources. We should be in up to our ear lobes so that we feel weak and incapable, for it’s then that we see the Lord working through us to miraculously take our pathetic efforts and multiply them to do amazing things, for his own glory.

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One Comment to “Mark 6 and Ministry”

  1. Amen! If we can do the ministry on our own, we won’t need God and it won’t really be ministry. Ministry always requires more than we have so we learn to be dependent upon Him to equip us. Blessings!

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