Read |Mark 6: 7|
My life may be divided into three major eras: life before Christ, life in Christ and undercover and, life in Christ lived aloud. I am gratefully, by His Spirit, living in the latter. And in this latter phase, what has been most urgent in my heart, is the need to live a life holy and acceptable to God--not only for my own sake-- but for the sake of those in my sphere of influence who have yet to come to call Him Lord and Savior. Very dear to my heart has been the admonition:
"Conduct yourself with wisdom in your interactions with outsiders (non-believers), make the most of each opportunity [treating it as something precious]. Let your speech at all times be gracious and pleasant, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer each one [who questions you]." (Colossians 4: 5 - 6, AMP).
With this Word on my heart, I set aside time to spend with a dear friend I have longed to call my sister in Christ. I committed, with special care, the time we would spend together and was eager to see how God would work through me to draw her nearer still. However, my plans were interrupted when I received a request to co-host a gathering in honor of a loved one on the same day. I accepted the request, somewhat grudgingly, as I saw the chance for one-on-one ministry pass. The day of the event arrived, filling my home with several believers. Merriment was high and people were generously lending themselves, one-to-another in conversation.
As the night progressed, and the meal was served, people gathered in small pockets throughout the home. I saw this as an opportunity to minister to my friend. In an unpopulated corner we sat and began to talk. But, it wouldn't be long before we were joined by two other women, who were in fact my sisters in Christ. With the graciousness the Spirit provided, I opened the conversation to include these women, trying not to perceive their entry as an intrusion. We exchanged pleasantries, but then followed questions born of genuine curiosity to the points of true revelation of ourselves. And because these women were hidden in Christ, every point of revelation of who they were was cloaked in Him. I was humbled, as the Spirit gave me eyes to see that the witness of who He is and what He has done is so much greater when we are together--united in Him. Our diverse backgrounds and different life rhythms--not competing--but made subject to Him to present the truth that: "God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5: 8, AMP).
In Mark 6: 7 we see Jesus illustrating the importance of our unity as believers in how He prepares His disciples for His departure:
I. "He summoned the twelve"
The mission would be carried out by individuals joined together by the call of one Lord, Jesus Christ. Their congregation was not of their own making. It was not formed by common interests. They were a motley crew, drawn together by the will of God and held together by this one thing---Jesus. They were called from the lesser story of self to partake in the greater story of God. They were called to declare--in their very bodies--the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Beloved, you have been called by one God and drawn near ONLY by the blood of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2: 13). You have been made a part of the family and household of God. (Ephesians 2: 19). You have been made a member of His precious body, over which He is the head. (Colossians 1: 18). You are not alone. You are not unto yourself, but have been brought together with all who believe on Him as Lord and Savior. You, with them, have been summoned. (Matthew 28: 19 - 20).
Reflect: How are you working together with the Body of Christ to declare the works of our God?
Challenge: Pray to seek God's wisdom about how to serve, alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ. Offer yourself in service, in light of His mercy towards you. (Romans 12: 1).
II. He sent them out in pairs.
They were sent out in pairs to drive out demons, anoint the sick with oil and heal them. (Mark 6: 13). These works they were to do together in the various places Jesus sent them. The works would serve as signs and wonders confirming the word they declared about Jesus Christ. Perhaps Jesus sent them in pairs in obedience to the wisdom of Ecclesiastes 4: 9 - 12:
Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor; for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and does not have another to lift him up. Again, if two lie down together, then they keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? And though one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (AMP).
Or perhaps it was to make possible the desire of His heart revealed in His prayer in John 17: 21 - 23:
I do not pray for these alone [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for [all] those who [will ever] believe and trust in Me through their message, that they all may be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe [without any doubt] that You sent Me. (AMP).
Perhaps He wanted them walking hand-in-hand, a motley crew, to bear witness in their unity that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6).
Reflect: How may the Lord be calling you to invite fellow believers to journey with you in ministry and life?
Challenge: Be vulnerable! Pray for God to give you eyes to see and a heart open to new holy connections within the Body of Christ.
III. He gave them authority.
Jesus equipped each disciple with what was needful for the work He had entrusted to them. It is recorded that He gave them authority--power and license to exercise that power--over all that they would actively come against. (Mark 6:7). And in close and broad reading of Scripture, we can come to see that central to exercising their authority was their connectedness--one to another:
Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them. (Matthew 18:19 - 20, AMP).
Reflect: Have you harnessed the promised blessing of praying in community?
Challenge: Pray for God to provide you with a prayer partner. He will answer this prayer! It is His will. While you wait, plug into the collective call on heaven, by praying for the common concerns of the Church or your local church.
Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is an educator, Christian education youth coordinator, author, singer, workshop and retreat leader, speaker and. founder and president of EarthBasic. However, she is first and foremost a daughter of God, with a passion for encouraging women to embrace the fullness of God's love for them in Jesus Christ. You can connect with Carolyn on facebook, Instagram and here.