Meditation for Preparation: January 28
Posted by: Zach Mullis
1 Samuel 2:1-11 --"A Song of Dependence and Trust"
As I was reading Mark 6:30-44 today, I recalled how instrumental it was in the Lord's direction for our family to move here and join with TGP Wardville (next Sunday will make ONE YEAR...whoa!). I remember so vividly how my heart received Mark 6:37 as a command from the Lord, and I've had occasion to reflect on that a bit today. And, as He so often and so graciously does, the Lord showed me some new things and helped me make connections and see nuances of this text that I had previously missed (have I mentioned how much I LOVE the Scriptures and the Lord for the way He does that?!). This has served to encourage my heart, and I pray it will serve to do the same for you, especially as we ask the Lord to increase our dependence upon Him in 2018.
Right before the terse and somewhat merciless account of John the Baptist's death, Jesus sends out the Twelve (Mark 6:7-13) for ministry, and at the beginning of the miracle of the bread and fish for 5000 men (Mark 6:30), the Twelve return and give a report of their ministry. Jesus responds by essentially inviting them to a retreat with Him. This is one of the emphases that stuck out to me as the backdrop of this entire story; I assume, here, that this was for the purpose of rest (which Jesus makes explicit, Mark. 6:31) and also processing of what they had seen and accomplished. There is always a needy crowd, and the work is never finished. But the Lord's servant is not the Lord and therefore must take moments away to be refreshed by the Lord's presence (this means all of us need time away to be alone with the Lord). But here is what I thought was so interesting as it relates to this story. When the arrive at the "desolate place," it seems like it isn't quite as desolate as the disciples had anticipated; the crowd met them there--the retreat was over before it even began. And yet, unlike the reaction I would likely have expressed when my plans must seemingly adjust, Jesus is filled with compassion (not disgust or anger or any other negative emotion) for the crowd--they are little sheep searching for a shepherd, and the Good Shepherd does not intend to send them away empty, spiritually or physically.
With their retreat now cut short, the disciples decide to give Jesus their opinion at the end of the day, "Tell them to go home, now; our work is finished, and there's nothing more we can do for these hungry folks." Then, Jesus does the unthinkable! He asks more of these Twelve disciples! At their wits' end, in need of rest, and at the end of yet one more, long day of ministry, Jesus demands more. He requests of them the impossible, "You give them something to eat. Yes, you--the weary, hungry, needy folks that you are--you give them something to eat." I wonder if He said this to illustrate for them the great importance, even the necessity, of dependence upon God.
- After such a glad report of effective ministry (Mark 6:30), could it be that they were tempted to think more highly of themselves than they ought?
- At the end of one more day of ministry to needy crowds, were they just ready to call it quits?
- In the face of such great need for so many people, were they tempted to depend upon their own reasoning skills or ministry strategies?
What better antidote for these disciples than for Jesus to mercifully bring them to the very end of their abilities, intellect, and strength by commanding them to give even more? God perfectly ordains this situation such that these disciples appreciate the necessity of dependence upon God's power and abilities at all times. And what better way to demonstrate for these folks that what God asks of us, He intends to fulfill through us as He enables, equips, and supplies? So the food these men were to pass out came from the provision of God's hand, not their own ability or piety. Jesus demanded something of them and then supplied them with what He demanded; these men were simply waiters, butlers--they passed out the miraculous food to the groups of fifties and hundreds situated atop the green grass (Mark 6:39-41). And Mark 6:42-43 teaches the happy results of allowing God to exercise and demonstrate His own willingness and ability to meet our needs--nobody left hungry and there were leftovers! God's abilities are more than enough (more, in fact, than we can ask or think, Eph. 3:20), and so we must depend on Him for the task at hand.
- We must depend on Him for strength to feed and raise needy children.
- We must depend on Him for strength and ability to minister in Wardville.
- We must depend on Him for words in evangelism.
- We must depend on Him for the creation of community within our Life Groups.
- We must depend on Him to supply us as we give in faith to meet our budget!
- We must depend on the strength and wisdom He provides in our jobs.
- And in all this, we must give Him glory and thank Him as He equips us, sustains us, supplies all that we need in order to accomplish His will! To Him be the glory (Eph. 3:21)!
See y'all Sunday!
Here is a Spotify playlist for our worship music this week:
- Ongoing-- New Adult Sunday School Bible Study of James at 9:38 a.m in Fellowship Hall
- January 28-- TGP 101 (New Member Training) 2:30-5:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall
- February 11-- Women's Bible Study at 4:00 p.m. (contact KB Thomas, Emillie Mullis, or Catherine Christian for more information)
- February 16-17-- Linger Conference (contact KB Thomas for more details)
- Click to download the January Bulletin.
- Sign up for the TGP Newsletter here!