Mark 6 is part of a larger story telling the good news of Jesus Christ, but it also provides a checklist to help us see whether or not our busy lives are busy because of Jesus and his call, or if we're simply "eating the bread of anxious toil" (Psalm 127:2). The following are questions you can ponder this week, in order to connect the Scripture to your daily living. I'm using the word "work" and "homework" interchangeably in this list so that we all realize that work is more than just our day job- instead, our work is our vocation, our calling, everything that God desires us to do in order to love and serve God, and to love and serve our neighbor as ourself. Work is the actual work you do, but also how you do, how you interact with co-workers, how you care for your home, your family, your friends, all of creation. Work is everything you do after the phrase "Go in peace, serve the Lord." Our work is our thanks-giving, our "Thanks be to God."
1. Are you trying to do the work you need to do alone? The disciples were sent out two by two.
2. Are you doing your work simply, and is your work done in order to support a simple lifestyle? Or, is a lot of your work done in order to support things beyond the simple life?
3. Does your homework heal people?
4. In your work and daily life, do you find opportunities to teach others about Jesus?
5. Do you know Jesus well enough to be able to share his message with others? (study of the Bible)
6. Does your work feed people?
7. Does your homework "cast out demons", that is, does it fight against the powers and principalities of this world that keep people poor, hurting, lonely, afraid?
8. Does your work bring hope to people rather than fear?
9. Do you check back in with Jesus regularly to let Him know how you're doing, and what you've been up to? (prayer)
10. If you have been busy with the Lord's work (notice, it isn't busy with just anything, but specifically with the ministry given to you by God to accomplish), do you listen to God's voice to come away to a deserted place by yourselves and rest for a while? Do you know how to rest? Do you know who to rest with? (worship)
11. If you're on your way to rest, but you encounter someone in great need along the way, are you filled with compassion enough to care for them?
12. Does your work bring people close enough to Jesus to be healed? Do you yourself stay close enough to Jesus to have his healing presence work through you?
13. Can you think of when Jesus first had compassion on you, and taught you, because you were a sheep without a shepherd?