Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 3, Mark 1: The beginning of Jesus' ministry

Title: Day 3, Mark 1: The beginning of Jesus' ministry
Theme: Spirit-Led Life Means to Listen First to Obey

Runners on a 100 metre dash will wait for the sound of the starting gun. The start of some Church services will begin at the sound of the church bell. The start of a computer begins with the pressing of the POWER button. Life is not simply about starting. It is about starting well. Jesus starts his ministry by getting ready to receive the starting signal. He humbly goes out to John, and asks to be baptized. The result is spectacular, not in the world's eyes, but in the sight of God.

"At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove." (Mark 1:9-10)

What is particularly intriguing is this one act of Jesus straightaway results in an applause from heaven. Note how the gospel writer describes:

And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)

In this world, we have the tendency of wanting to seek human approval. Subordinates want their boss to see their work. Children longs to have their parents approve of their school grades. Even leaders and pastors of churches seek approval for their work in church or religious organizations. In serving the people of God, one is often tempted to seek the approval of men and women, MORE than God. It comes in a very insidious manner. This is a dangerous trap for any Christian leader. When we seek approval from people, we are bounded to their conditions, their expectations, and their written or unwritten requirements. It may be for a good cause. It may even be for an altruistic purpose. Yet, without the leading of the Spirit, and the final approval of God, it will fall flat with a dull thud. God's work done in God's way will never lack supply. As much as we want to begin our journey well, our first task is not to do things fast. Our first task is to listen in order to obey.

What I Learn: The person of God who is led by the Spirit, seeks God's approval first.


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