Being a disciple is often a confusing state for a Christian. Many things we do give us a sense of “membership”. We take a membership class, have communion, tithe on our finances, and have yearly meetings on the state of the church. But realistically, and practically, the Church is the only organization for which its benefits are NOT for its members. We talk about “the last will be first, the weak being strong, and denying ourselves”. Being a member of the Body is like no other membership. It is why some churches resemble “a country club with a cross”.
This is not a struggle that is unique to our generation of Christians. Mark 6: 30-44 details how the first 12 struggled with what it was to be a true disciple of Jesus. Going back to the verses 6b-13, the disciples were sent out to fulfill ministry like healing, anointing the sick with oil, and driving out demonsin Jesus‘ Name. When they return, Jesus is being followed by crowds of people. In an attempt to spend time with them, Jesus has them get into a boat for some time of intimate teachings. The crowds have different agendas, however, and they appear where Jesus and the others land. Jesus apparently turns his private session into a larger group teaching.
When it comes to time to eat, the disciple’s nature comes out and tells Jesus “it’s time to send these people away to get their own food”. Jesus quickly reminds the disciples, who have just returned from working miracles and being of service to those in needs, that they are called to more. Jesus tells them, “You feed them.” The excuses fly as to not having enough and the cost. Jesus simply asks “What do you have?”
We often operate out of a deficit or entitlement mentality in the Church. We either don’t have enough, or what we do have is “ours not theirs”. Not only is this a misuse of our calling, but it deprives others of the miracles Christ works through us. What we have is God’s, so hoarding it for our own personal use is not only foolish to assume rights to do, but also abhorrent to scripture. It may be the single biggest reason for why the Church is suffering the largest PR attack in history, even since the Crusades. Multimillion dollar event centers, harsh Facebook posts, politically charged speech, and an overall departing from Christ-centered actions only reinforce that the Church is not a place a non-believer wants to be.
Our call to follow Christ is not one that will lead us to a ticker tape parade, a full page news article, or an overflowing bank account. It is to serve, bless, heal, anoint, and in all ways, love others. You feed them!
Do I consider my gifts to be personal possessions, or tools for Christ to use?
Do my actions testify to what Christ has given to me or something else?
Do I reject serving others because I don’t feel qualified enough?