I have many thoughts swirling in my head, so I will share with you.
This morning in my devos, God enabled me to relate it so something I've learned in class, which I thought was rather fascinating. Mark 6 talks about how Jesus sends the disciples out to do the work he taught them. This is a perfect example of the master-apprentice model we learned in Cultural Anthropology, and it is a method of informal learning. Although I have never used it, I believe I would enjoy this way of learning, and I think it was very effective for the disciples. Jesus taught them how to do something, and then, very practically, sent them out to do exactly that. He gave them the power to do those things (Mark 6:7). Jesus says in Luke 6:40:
"A disciple is not above his teacher,
but everyone who is perfectly trained
will be like his teacher."
Luke tells of this same story in chapter 9, but he elaborates a little more by saying that Jesus sent them out to preach the Gospel and heal the sick. Today we struggle with the concept of holistic missions, and often compartmentalize the physical needs from the spiritual i.e. sharing the Gospel (although there are mission agencies who do well at both).
N.B. Jesus recognized the importance of both the physical AND the spiritual health of people, and he taught his disciples to focus on both as well.
When they came back from travelling and ministering, they reported to Jesus what they had done and preached, most likely so he could encourage them in ways they could improve, since he was the master after all.
What would happen if more people treated Jesus as the master, and themselves as the apprentice? How much different would their focus be, and how much more effective would their ministry be?
The phrase WWJD, or "What Would Jesus Do?" has become trite and used in somewhat of a sarcastic or sneering manner by non-Christians and Christians alike. I am not suggesting we bring back the bracelets or other paraphernalia, but we should keep it as our mind-set. If we want to be the apprentices, and Jesus as our Master, then we must constantly be searching the Gospels for His model and learn, as well as do, by example. I want to read more of God's Word to let the words sink in and drown out my fleshly and human desires, so that I can be more of an effective servant for the things He desires.
I really appreciated something Jake said yesterday. We were talking about the way I have been justifying my consumption of sweets since starting Lent, and how I need to be more disciplined and focused. He told me that, although he, too, finds it hard to stay away from those things, he focuses on how he wants more of God, rather than focusing on the negative. Essentially he said:
"God is worth me giving up the desire to eat sweets (which aren't inherently bad), because when I die to what I desire,when I beat my body into submission and quiet my inner hunger needs, I hear God's voice more clearly. I know He is always speaking to me, but I can actually hear Him when I fast."
What lengths am I willing to go to, in order to hear God's voice speaking to me? How radical must I be so that I can understand the heart of God? Am I willing to let Him teach me how to do effective ministry, following after his master-apprentice model for my life?
That is my challenge, for myself, and if it speaks to you too, then let me know so we can keep praying for one another!