While I can find personal insights in most every book of the Bible, these connections seem to “jump out at me” when reading any of the four Gospels. Feeling a little distant from God this week, I turned to Mark.
Often I am looking for direction in my life. I take to heart the parable of the talents, and when that day comes when God asks me what I did with the resources and gifts he bestowed upon me, I want to make sure I have a good answer.
That is why I was amazed in the opening chapters of Mark. Here is Jesus starting his ministry. The all-powerful Son of God. He had the gifts and talents, if you will, to accomplish anything. World peace? No problem. Build a church? That’s a snap. Strike down a ruthless dictator? Piece of cake.
So what did Jesus do first? He gather together a few friends, and went out to help some individuals in need. Interesting. While John the Baptist was out there calling for people to change their ways, repent and prepare yourself for heaven, the first thing Jesus did was to help people get through another day in the here and now.
In Mark, Jesus invites a few friends (the first four apostles) and proceeds to help a man possessed, an older lady with a fever, a man with leprosy and then a paralyzed man. Of all things Jesus could do – what he chose to do first was to invest time with some strangers who were hurting.
Often, I find myself searching for the “big thing” to do – after all, I don’t want to waste the resources God gave to me! But here’s a radical idea. What if we put aside all the big things. What if we all just went out and started helping people whereever we saw a need. What if we started looking for needs. No organization. No planning. No budgets. Just take time every day to help someone else. I think there would be a word for a place like that: heaven.
Today I called up the home for the elderly in my community and volunteered to come by one evening a week to spend a few hours with some people who are lonely. To do that, I am going to skip my usual church meeting planned for that night. Okay, it’s not like I’m really diving in here, but the way I see it… it’s a first step. Maybe I’ll invite some friends, too.