Devotion for November 14, 2023

“They all ate and were satisfied.” (Mark 6:42)

In this next section of Mark, the disciples return from their mission trip to tell Jesus all they have done and taught in his name. The debrief occurs in the shadow of John the Baptist’s martyrdom. The mood is one of excitement mixed with heaviness. Tiring stuff.

In the following verses, Jesus gives three gifts essential for sustainable living and discipleship:

The first is rest. Jesus invites the disciples, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (verse 31b). The rest of mind, body and soul were built into our bodies as a recovery mechanism by our creator.

The second gift is teaching about God. When Jesus sees the crowds, he is moved with compassion (literally “kicked in the guts”). His response? To teach. Not anything else but to teach. And not just a little but “a great many things” (verse 34). I see lots of things that make me wonder if the church is still teachable. People also report being tired and worn out in the faith. A good question to keep in front of ourselves is, “Am I still teachable by Jesus?” It might help alleviate that sense of pushing it all uphill.

The third gift is a good feed. Jesus doesn’t send the crowd away hungry. He draws his disciples into his work of feeding the crowd, just as he had with teaching the villagers and inviting the disciples to learn about rest. Jesus still continues providing earthly nourishment for us and, at the same time, drawing us into his work of feeding.

Thank God for his very earthly human understanding of what we need. Rest. Teaching. Food. Are you making the most of them?

Prayer

Thank you, Heavenly Father, that you made me and all creatures. You richly and daily provide me with all I need to support this body and life. All this you do out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For this, it is my duty (and joy) to thank and praise, serve and obey you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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