This week I am blessed to preach twice. Once at OurChurch, our Wednesday morning church service at OurCalling, and again on Friday night at Union Gospel Mission Dallas. In preparing for these two messages, I’ve spent quite a bit of time immersed in the Gospel of Mark and God’s Word in general. The Lord is inevitably always teaching me something anytime I get the privilege to share His word.
Everyday at OurCalling, I have the honor and privilege of leading and working with a team of beautiful, godly people who love the Lord. We work with a challenging and difficult population traumatized by a multitude of ills and ripped to shreds by violence, drugs, rape, trafficking, and any other horrible thing you can imagine. Life on the streets has no victors, only victims.
In chapter 5 of the Gospel of Mark, we see Jesus reviving a young girl from death. Afterward, beginning in chapter 6, we witness Jesus return home to Nazareth, where he is quickly got rejected by his hometown folk. After all, he was just the son of a simple carpenter. What could possibly be special about him.? Describing the people of Nazareth, Scripture records “they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.” Jesus was amazed at their unbelief.
Jesus sends the disciples out to do what he has taught them. They go and cast out demons, heal sick people, and preach the gospel of repentance. Meanwhile, Herod has a big feast that ends with the beheading of John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin.
The disciples return anxious to tell Jesus about all that they had done. Jesus, in his humanity, grieving and weary and recognizing he and his disciples needed some downtime, gets in a boat and heads for a quiet place.
SHEEP WITHOUT A SHEPHERD
Mark 6:34: “Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” (Emphasis mine)
“Sheep without a shepherd” is a phrase found written several times in Scripture. It must be important.
For instance, during a conversation Moses has with the Lord, after the Lord has revealed to him the Promised Land and told him he would not be taking his people into it, Moses describes who should replace him as the leader of God’s people.
Numbers 27:17 “Give them someone who will guide them wherever they go and will lead them into battle, so the community of the Lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”
A shepherd is responsible for leading, feeding, protecting, and procuring rest for their sheep.
There were people who were responsible for looking after the needs of their community. But they had failed their people. They were leaders in title only. Jesus saw that the people were starving physically and spiritually. He had compassion on them and began teaching them.
Leadership isn’t about wearing a crown or a title; it’s about fulfilling the responsibility to bring out the best in others. It’s about making things better every day. Jesus saw the people and had compassion on them because their leaders had failed them.
Great leaders bring out the best in people.Jesus is the greatest of all leaders.
“Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.” But Jesus said, “You feed them.” “With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!” “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.” They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.” Mark 6:35-39 (NLT)
You feed them. God always invites us to be part of the solution. He invites us to be part of His work. He doesn’t do what we should do for ourselves. He helps us do what we CANT do for ourselves. He provides. He supplies. He sustains. Think about it:: there’s no miracle in God doing for you what He has equipped you to do! The miracles happen when God does what only He can do!
There are times we need to recognize that the Lord has given us all the tools and abilities and wherewithal to do what we need to do and there are times we need to recognize our utter dependence on Him to do what only God can do for us.
There’s something wrong with getting a check, blowing it all on drugs, booze, and sex and then turning to God and asking Him to miraculously provide you with food, clothes, and shelter. Don’t squander God’s blessing! Use the skills, talents, and gifts the Lord has given you to the fullest, for His glory and for His Kingdom.
“Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.” Mark 6:39-40 (NLT)
GOD IS A GOD OF ORDER, NOT A GOD OF CHAOS
He said let there be light before he created people. He gave us the Law and then He gave us His Son.
If there is chaos and drama overwhelming your life, recognize it’s not from God, but from the devil, because the devil loves chaos. Satan loves confusion. His greatest day is when he can get you to believe that he doesn’t exist and that God doesn’t care about you.
THEY ALL ATE AS MUCH AS THEY WANTED
“Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. “Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them.
They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed.”
Jesus supplied and provided all that they could eat. They ate until they were fully satisfied.
I’m thankful for the goodness God showers us with each and every day. We deserve His worst, yet He gives us His best. Like a true shepherd.
Taste and see the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8)
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”(Ephesians 3:20)
Ultimately, our greatest satisfaction rests in Jesus.
May the Lord bless your week.
The Devotional Guy™