Recently I have been reading through the gospel of Mark. I am one who firmly believes that God speaks to us primarily through His Word and being sovereign knows where we are going to be in His Word on any given day to speak directly to where we are in life. Many times when we are convicted or challenged by His Word we dismiss it, because it is not what we want to hear, but anyone can search the scriptures until they find the answer they want.
This past week as I went back to the “list” all I could think about was how do we gauge spiritual fruit? When it comes to the fruit of our personal lives as transformed believers, we see it in the fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Galations 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” These fruits come forth as the Spirit transforms our old sinful nature. We can look at the list and see how we used to be one way by the flesh, but are now another way by the Spirit. This transformation is a life-long process that will never be complete this side of heaven.
In gauging the fruit of our activities though, my mind went to understanding it must be the activities that seemingly have the biggest impact or largest movement or greatest gathering. In the gospel of Mark, he wastes no time describing the mass movement gathering around Jesus. “Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.” Mark 4:1. This is the same crowd as mentioned in chapter 3 that where “from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon.” A modern day preachers wildest dream! Let’s see, the disciples need to pass an offering plate, we need to start a building project, form some committees and do this thing right! Well, Jesus did just that . . .
Nope, he sailed his boat away from the crowd to the other side of the sea to meet with a violent, demon-possessed man, living in the tombs, an outcast of society, crying out and bruising himself with stones. A modern day preachers worst nightmare! Well, Jesus casts out the demons, heals the man and said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5:19b. Believe it or not this unlikely man becomes the first Gentile missionary and unlike all the other times where Jesus told people to keep silent about being healed, he sends this man on his way to prepare the whole region for the future mission of the church.
May the Lord direct you . . .Paul LaBathe