Thursday, February 3, 2011


It has to be one of the toughest lessons for us to learn -- dependence. We work so hard to convince ourselves...and those around us...that we are independent...self-sufficient...that we don't need anyone. And yet I suspect that at some level, we are all very much aware this is a lie. We can't take a breath without it being the Will of God. If that were not the case, we would be immortal. But our very existence is dependent on Him. And so whatever "power" or "control" we appear to exert (or that others exert on us)'s a mirage. As Christ told Pilate, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above" (John 19:11).

And because Jesus is Truth, He wants to pull back the self-made veil from our eyes...He wants to confront us with our dependence...and then He wants to help us embrace it. That's what He did for the disciples...and that's what He wants to do for us:
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick –no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there...." Mark 6:8-10
Here they were, ready to embark on their first mission for God....their first tour if you will...and Jesus sent them out without anything. No food, no drink, not even a change of clothes. Nothing but a walking stick. Jesus was putting them in a position to where they would have no choice but to trust trust God the Father. (And isn't that so often the best way for us to learn...when we don't have a choice BUT to learn.) Everything they would need...would have to be supplied by God.

Of course God wasn't going to supply food and shelter supernaturally as he did for the Israelites or for Elijah. The truth is that might have been easier for them. I think it would have been easier for me...given the alternative. No, instead of supernatural provision, Jesus encouraged the Apostles to not only accept their dependence on God, but to accept their dependence on one another....that is on other people. Whatever food they would eat, whatever shelter they would would all come through the kindness and goodness of others...of God's people. It is one of the great paradoxes of life. Though in the end it is all about our own personal relationship to God, we are meant to work out the relationship together. And sadly, that isn't always easy:
Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them. Mark 6:11
The Apostles learned first hand that trusting God doesn't mean He will make the path smooth. Nor does our need for one another ensure that we will all treat eachother with goodness and kindness. Yet that doesn't change anything. We are still dependent...still helpless without God...still needing Him...and still needing each other.

But as always, The Gospels are ultimately a message of hope. And so while the Apostles were thrown into the depend end of dependence...they showed us that if we will embrace our dependence on God....if we will trust Him for our needs...if we will focus on doing what He asks of us...and if we will be obedient...then we will succeed beyond anything we could ever have pretended to do on our own.
They went out and preached that men should repent. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.Mark 6:12-13

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