Lord, help me trust in You for all things. Father, would You lift my eyes to see where my help truly comes from? May I live in such a way that I forsake the things of this world and whatever hinders my fruitfulness in Your kingdom. Help me, as I open Your Word, to see the things You desire to teach me. Give me a heart to respond to Your Word, Lord. Amen.
Read Mark 6:6-9:13
Mark 6:6–29 The opening scene of our passage depicts Jesus commissioning and sending out His disciples. He commanded them, as they went, to take with them only things that were absolutely necessary for enabling them to fulfill their call to preach the gospel.
In these first few verses, we see a clear distinction between John’s simple and sacrificial lifestyle and the hedonistic and flamboyant lifestyle of Herod. John, in a worldly sense, seemed to have nothing. He was not a man who lived for riches or comfort or to sit back and enjoy his fame. The very fact that he was arrested shows he didn’t live for the affections of man or what this world could offer.
However, his life came to a terrible end. Even in today’s world, faithful Christian witnesses find themselves languishing in prison cells or at the end of an executioner’s axe. John was one who, as Mark 9:35 says, lost his life because of the gospel, but in doing so he actually saved it.
Mark 6:30–44; 8:1–21 God always provides what we need. He’s already gone ahead of us to provide for our needs before we’re even aware of them. Jesus miraculously fed the 5,000 and then, not long after, fed 4,000. Despite this, we see in Mark 8:16 that the disciples still fretted over their daily bread.
Remember, Following God May End Badly! (2 minutes)
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Mark 8:34–38 Jesus predicted He would suffer. His path of obedience was a path of suffering. As His disciples, we’re also called to take up our cross and follow Him. However, as we saw earlier in His miraculous provision of bread, we can trust He’ll provide for all our needs.
35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
- Would you take time to prayerfully consider if there are things you’re holding onto that are inhibiting the gospel’s growth in your life? The things we hold onto are the things we cherish. They could be a treasured possession, high-speed internet, a hobby, or even a relationship. Be mindful that we worship and serve a good God who gives good gifts. He’s not asking you to get rid of all the things in your life that bring you joy. However, He may be asking you to at least give thoughtful attention to why you refuse to let some things go. We should be careful not to worship and cling to the gift with a tenacity that should be reserved for the Giver.
- Are there moments when you seek to insulate your life from pain and suffering? Do you move toward comfort and away from stress? Are there times when you’re guilty of worshiping the God of comfort and stability?
- Do you really trust that God is your provider? In times of trouble, do you run to Him and His Word for comfort and peace? Do you remind yourself of the many ways He has cared for you in your past? Do you keep a prayer journal of God’s faithfulness in your life? (If not, you will begin one in Go and Do.) Are there people in your life with whom you can be open and accountable about the things in this world you may be holding onto for the wrong reasons?
- The call of discipleship is a call to suffer. There’s a cost to following Jesus. The world lies to us every day about what’s truly important and the things we need. The truth is we deserve nothing from a good and holy God except His wrath—and yet, He has given us everything! Jesus walked the path of suffering that led Him to take up a wooden cross and die for our sins. Evaluate your life to see if you live a life prepared to suffer for following Jesus.
- Begin a prayer journal and record God’s faithfulness in your life. Live a life of daily thankfulness toward God for His rich provision, and trust Him for the days ahead.