8th Sunday after Pentecost
July 18th, 2021icon-download-pdf-wp

Gospel: Mark 6:7-13
Epistle: Ephesians 1:3-14
Lesson: Amos 7:10-15
Psalm: Psalm 85:8-13

CLB Commentary – Rev. Gary Witkop
(Originally published in 2012)

This story of the life and work of Jesus and His disciples shows us the importance of total dependence on God instead of ourselves. This is shown in that the disciples received the power to do their work (cast out demons) from Jesus. The power is God’s not theirs and not ours. They were also told not to take money, or food, or clothes with them. Instead God would supply all their needs. The disciples were to learn to rely solely on God and not on themselves. Another way they were to learn that it wasn’t their work or strength or gifts that would accomplish God’s work is that they were to not go alone. We are not to be lone rangers in our service to the Lord, we need one another. Our strength and abilities are not enough, we need God and we need others.

Another part of this story is that the work involved going, not staying. A typical church of the past 100 years in America would build a building and put out a sign announcing worship service and teaching times and expect people to come. For the past 100 years that would work fairly well as people in this country were raised with the teaching of Christ from most of the rest of the people around them. That is no longer true today. Today many people have no concept of a need for a church or a need for Christ so they drive by our churches and see our signs and ignore them. We need to be reminded by stories like this that we need to go to the lost and not wait for them to come to us. Jesus sent his disciples out and today Jesus is still sending his disciples out – in pairs or groups, not alone.

However, in our going and doing the work, we need to remember that it’s His work and that He will do His work. He gives the gifts to accomplish His work, and He provides for our needs. What a relief to know that I am not being sent to do God’s work with the weight of success or failure on me. Instead I am being sent out to do His work with God’s promise that He will give me all that I need to succeed. And if I am being given all I need to succeed, then when any good results from my work, who gets the credit, me or the One who gave me the ability to succeed?

One more note in this story is that Jesus predicts that not every attempt to do His work will end in success. Sometimes an entire town would refuse to listen to his disciples and if they wouldn’t listen to them back then, why will they listen today? So, if or when you experience failure, remember that this too is part of the work of the Kingdom of God. Some people will listen and come to faith, some will not. It is not our job to “be successful.” It is our job to be faithful, while leaving the outcome to God.

So, get off the couch and go to a world that is dying with God’s strength and resources and preach about Jesus.

 

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost