Mark 3:13-15 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. 14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:.
As you read through the New Testament you cannot help but be impressed with Jesus’ disciples. I'm talking about the eleven that spent three years with Jesus: living with Him, seeing Him do miracles, and hearing Him personally teach the Word of God. Of course, I am excluding Judas the one who betrayed Him. But for the eleven that did not betray Him, as we read through the gospels, we see that occasionally they got things wrong, misunderstood Him, or just generally acted human. The gospels contain the stories and narrations of all that Jesus began to teach and to do on this earth. Once He left this earth for the glories of heaven, that teaching and work was left to His disciples.
As we read the book of Acts, we see that His eleven faithful disciples did a tremendous work and reached multitudes with powerful, Spirit-filled preaching. Of course, their actions were often met with opposition and serious persecution, both of which did not deter them in what they did in the least. They still made a huge difference in their world. In fact, they were accused of turning the world upside down. And the influence of their efforts wherever they went, and in the early church which they propelled forward, has continued on down to us today.
These were great man who accomplished great things for a great God. They were able to achieve things that we, who love the Lord, would love to duplicate in our lives and with our time. But what was it that prepared these men to be able to accomplish these great works? Part of it is very simple. It is something which we may emulate in our lives so that we are ready to reach our community for Jesus Christ, in spite of any opposition or obstacles that may come our way. It is a seemingly simple task and yet one that is easy for us to neglect as we seek to serve the Lord and make a difference in the lives of those whom God brings across our path.
There are many pitfalls that lay on our path that can trip us up and derail us from doing great things for God, things that stand the test of time. And yet I believe the thing that prepared His disciples for making a difference and impacting their world is one of the easiest for us to neglect. It is the simplest pitfall that trips us up and limits our effectiveness.
The thing that prepares us to be useful, difference making servants of God, is laid out in these few simple words in verse 14.
The original call of Jesus to His disciples was one of being with Him. One of placing their life secondary to their relationship and time spent with Jesus. Everything else that would happen to them from that time forward, any changes that were made in their life, any ministry that they did for Him, would flow from that time with Him.
Sounds simple doesn’t it, “they should be with Him”? The effectiveness of our work for God is wrapped up in that statement, which represents our walk with Him. Jesus called His disciples to sacrifice for Him, do works for Him, to learn from Him, and to become fishers of men. But all of that would only be possible if His disciples were with Him, if they spent time with Him. There was no way they would know what to do, why to do it, or when to do it unless they had spent those three years walking with Jesus. There is no way they would have made it through everything they would face had they not spent that time with Jesus.
That is today as much today as it was back then. They needed to be with Him, to have a close relationship with Him if they were to do any lasting work for Him. If we are going to make a difference in this world (and by the way this world needs somebody to make a difference), it will only be made as we spend time with Him. It sounds so simple, but why does it seem so hard? The question we need to ask is this: “Are we spending daily time with Jesus?” That is where it all started for His eleven, and that is where it will start for us.
The decision of identity determines the direction and end of our conversation or lifestyle.
What if we had to have church in your house? What kind of sanctuary would your home make?