Reading this morning Mark 4:35-41 (Jesus calming the sea), I noticed a simple element of the story. It was Jesus' idea to go to the other side.
Profound, huh? It speaks volumes to me. You see, I generally err on the side of believing that all the "storms" that come into my life are my fault. I've done something wrong to "deserve" the difficulty. From time to time, that is truly the case; I'm living with the consequences of my sin. But that isn't always reality. There are occasions when I'm genuinely living in the will of God, confessed up, and he has an idea that I implement and suddenly "a furious squall" (v. 37) arises.
I don't for one minute believe that Jesus wanted to "teach them a lesson" about trusting him, even though I do believe he knew what was about to happen. I think he just went along for the ride. I say that because Jesus doesn't say how he wants to get to the other side, he simply gives the directive. "They took him along...in the boat." The disciples chose the mode of transportation. I'm not suggesting they chose poorly. In fact, evening had come and they were probably thinking expeditiously, "We've got to get to the other side before it gets any darker." It could be Jesus preferred to go by land (he was a carpenter, after all, not a marine biologist), but he let them chose their favorite method (1 of every 4 disciples was a fisherman). On the other hand, perhaps their hurry to beat the clock wasn't what Jesus initially intended. Maybe he wanted to walk around the edge of the lake so he could encounter more people in need of teaching. Who knows? The point isn't their travel, though. The point is that Jesus didn't want to stay in the same place, and he doesn't want us to remain in the same place spiritually or even physically, either. Stagnant Christianity is probably the number one killer of a life lived in faith and submission, and thus, the number one killer of churches. When we're individually and corporately content to stay where we are, no one gets effectively ministered to, and we miss out on all kinds of blessings, as well as the chance to observe his amazing power at work (v. 39).
Notice, it doesn't get much better on the other side. The minute they step out of the boat, they're met by a demon-possessed man (5: 2)! Great. But Jesus doesn't let them get back on the water, either, not until they are asked to leave town (5:17). Jesus' call to be his follower means we sometimes get to choose various means and methods to be obedient to his ideas, with no sure promises about the ease of the journey. I think he's just glad when we do something, make some move to getting to where he wants us to be. Doing the things we love and have interest in, for His kingdom's sake, is a great place to start. Even if a storm arises in the middle, at least we were headed to the "other side," and I think that makes him very proud. The results are then up to him alone.
Thank You Is Not Enough
2 months ago