Sunday, May 19, 2019

Mark 9-10~ Day 19~ In the name of Jesus.

It stood out to me how many times Jesus said, "In my name" as he was giving instructions to his disciples.
"Whoever welcomes one little child such as this in my name, welcomes me." (9:37)

"...because there is no one who will perform a miracle in my name who can soon afterward speak evil of me." (9:39)

"And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ-..." (9:41)

Jesus is pointing out that there is a big difference between doing benevolent acts verses doing loving acts in His name.  Someone who is not a believer and does three years of the Peace Corp may have helped meet the temporary physical needs of some, but they did nothing of the eternal, spiritual needs of the people they were with.  That person has altruistic motives and maybe even perhaps felt they "covered their bases" as far as being a "good person".

A disciple of Christ however, should not miss what Jesus is repeating here.  Kind acts are only truly loving when it is done in the name of Jesus.  The ultimate loving act is to point the other to Jesus, and at how to have a right relationship with him.  Jesus is giving a two part command.  We can't forget about the second part of the command and focus only on the first part.  If we do, we miss the whole point of what Jesus is asking us to do!

I am reminded of a couple I met in the Andes mountains of Ecuador.  The couple had been missionaries for 40 years to one particular village and it's surrounding areas.  They told us what the village people were like when they first arrived.  The culture had been ruined by alcohol.  Men would start drinking early in the day.  It would be a common occurrence to see multiple men passed out in the gutters of the street in the middle of the day.  Men were not working, abandoned their families and caused the women to do the child rearing and figure out how to get food on the table.  The family unit was in shambles.  Over time, as they shared the gospel with the people, they noticed a visible change in the culture! Men's lives started to change.  Some stopped drinking, went back to work and provided for their families.  When we arrived, we did not see any sign of a broken society as a whole.

We got the opportunity to show the Jesus film to the village and were stunned at how many people came!  Talking about a ripe harvest!!  It was by far, more people than what the village could hold!  People had hiked all day to come and see the film.  The field, where we gathered, was crowded!  That scene helps me picture what it was like when Jesus came to town in the gospel stories we are reading.

At first, one might think that the help this culture needed was a better farming system or a better travel system between towns or easier water access for the women.  Those would have been "giving a cup of water" but it would not be in Jesus name if Jesus was never mentioned.  Instead, this couple went in with the goal of doing all their work in the name of Jesus.  What an affect it had on the culture!!  The villagers did better as a society, able to figure out their own ways of "giving a cup of water" to their families and surrounding town people.  They were able to do it themselves because their brains were no longer clouded by alcohol, but filled with Jesus!

I think these verses are good litmus tests to any volunteer work or charitable giving I may do.  Am I doing something to meet physical needs while also sharing Christ?  Does the organization I am thinking of being involved in have the goal to share Christ with those they come in contact with?  If the answer is no, than I can comfortably know that others in our society will have a benevolent heart toward those organizations, but I don't have to be the one to help them out.  I need to keep my attention on the programs and organizations that work "in the name of Jesus".

4 comments:

Christine R said...

Yes... "In the name of Jesus" is our calling and I appreciate your clear description of the litmus test...❤️

Keri Sukut said...

Amen!

Walking with The Way said...

😊

Walking with The Way said...

😊