Friday, June 11, 2010

Ministry: Hold On Loosely

by Kathy Lay

This Week's Verse: Mark 6:30-31, “The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.”(NLT)

I can recall very few times when I’ve been too busy to eat (ha!) but otherwise I can relate to what the disciples are experiencing in this week’s verse. And many of you can too.

In Mark 6:7, Jesus sends the disciples out two by two to minister to people. In verse 13 we find out that not only did they tell people to turn from their sins, but they also cast out many demons and healed the sick, anointing them with olive oil. All in all, a very successful season of ministry!

Understandable then, that when the disciples meet up again with Jesus as shown in verse 30, they are emotionally stoked about what they’d been able to do. I can just see them trying to talk over each other with stories of the incredible work they’d been doing. And with so many people coming and going all around them, they no doubt attracted larger crowds with their enthusiasm. I wonder if the disciples were thinking, “We can do even more work here among these people! What are we waiting for?”

But Jesus doesn’t send them out again—at least not yet. “Let’s get away from the crowds for a while and rest,” he tells them.

Rest? But Lord, we have so much to do! Who has time to rest when there’s VBS planning, camp registering and packing, song practicing, Sunday school preparing, and church cleaning to do?

In our ministries—Spirit-driven, God-ordained, kingdom-vital ministries—we will have busy seasons. We may thrive on them at times, while at other times we may feel completely wrung out. But regardless of whether we feel the need to or not, we must listen when we hear Jesus asking us to rest and spend time with Him.

If we don’t, that’s like saying, “Jesus, you understand why I can’t be in the Word today of ALL days, right? Today’s the big event I’m doing for you!” Or maybe it’s like saying, “I have to be at the shelter at 6 a.m. to serve your people breakfast, Lord. I’ll catch ya later.” Or even saying, “Lord, I have to get this devotional finished. I’ll pray later.” (Ouch.)

An esteemed worship leader (I think her name is Missy Milbourn or something like that) was once talking with me about the demands of ministry. She shared what helps her keep things in proper perspective. “We need to hold loosely to our ministries, but hold tightly to Jesus.” After all, which do we love more?

As we minister, we must heed Jesus’ promptings and go rest with Him. There we’ll find solace from the frenetic pace, even if we may not want to at first. And we’ll be reminded that He’s the one who sustains us as we carry out His work.

Lord, help us always to hold loosely enough to our ministries to spend time and rest with you. Thank you for grace when we do run ahead or rely on our own abilities. Become our greatest desire. In Jesus’ Name.

If you aren’t currently serving in a ministry, you’re missing out on a blessing. Consider areas you could serve (VBS is fast approaching!). If you do have a ministry (or multiple ministries!) is it difficult for you to slow down sometimes and just rest with Jesus? If so, mark a specific time each day to do this and commit to keeping it until it becomes a habit.

Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 3:5-6, “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”(NIV)
2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”(NIV)
Acts 8:21, “You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.”(NIV)

1 comment:

Jane Ann said...

Wow! Thanks, Kathy! This was VERY timely for me---I'm getting ready for VBS next week and teaching/leading worship at camp the week after that! I need to print this out and keep re-reading it! And I really need to learn to hold ministry loosely---I get so attached that changes come hard.

Thanks you again for your wonderful devotions. I really appreciate Olive Branch.

Jane Ann Zerkel (Karen K's cousin)