It's a new year and a new opportunity to dedicate our plans and our ministries to God. No matter what time of year it is you read this, or whether you are about to launch a new ministry, or already involved in one (or several!) there are many things we can learn from how Jesus began His own ministry to incorporate into our own.
We're going to take a journey through Mark 1--when Jesus began His ministry--to set the tone for our own. Whether our ministry is in prisons or churches or organizations, or in our homes, our own businesses, or our blogs, we are all called to minister to others wherever we go. We all have a ministry, or several.
And there's nothing quite like learning how to move forward in our ministries than to learn from the best minister ever, Jesus. He knew what it meant to be about His Father's business, and His ministry left such an impact on the world it still affects millions of people all over the world centuries later.
"At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just 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
If the Savior of the world, who was fully God and man needed to surrender His life to God and be filled with the Holy Spirit before He began His ministry, then how much more do we?
After being baptized in the water and in the Holy Spirit, Jesus went and spent 40 days in the desert, fasting and praying. Now, I'm not saying we need to fast and pray for 40 days (though if God is calling you to do so, then be obedient!) But Jesus is setting an example for us that our hearts and bodies need to be right before God before we can be fully equipped to pursue our ministries. We need God's power and wisdom and direction and blessing to pursue or continue in our ministries, or else we are ministering in our own earthly power and missing out on all that God has for us.
Take some time to pray. Surrender your heart and soul and ministry to God. Pray that the Holy Spirit would equip and empower you. Pray that you would learn to rely on and lean on His power, rather than your own. Pray that your words, your actions, your time, your giftings, your passions, your fruit of the spirit would all be touched, inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
We are not meant to be about God's business on our own. We can't. We need God's and the Holy Spirit's help.
After Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness, fasting, praying and being tempted by Satan, Jesus went into Galilee, preached in synagogues, called his first disciples, and healed a man of an impure spirit.
"The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching--and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him." News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee." Mark 1:27-28
People began following Him because they wanted to learn from Him, and they wanted to be healed. Jesus taught them. He healed them. He was busy. But He was busy being about God's business, a term He Himself came up with when He was only twelve and His parents found Him teaching in the temple (Luke 2:42-52).
He wasn't busy trying to be the Messiah and Savior that people expected, building an army to overthrow the Roman empire and taking the throne as King. He wasn't tracking how many followers He had and how many 'likes' He got for each of His sermons or miracles.
We must be busy in the same way, being about the Father's business. And we must continually check our motives and our hearts. Are we doing this ministry for approval from people, or because God called us to this ministry and is equipping us for it? Are we focused on building our own little mini-kingdom on social media, or on building God's kingdom? Are we focused on getting followers and hearts (likes) on all of our social media platforms, or are we focused on the hearts that will be reading our posts?
After Jesus did a lot of healing and preaching
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Mark 1:35
And then, after He spent time in prayer,
"he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues, driving out demons, and healing many who had various diseases." Mark 1:39
Yep, Jesus took time to recharge with His Father. To get His heart and mind and body right before God again. To be equipped and empowered by God and the Holy Spirit. And that enabled Him to continue on, being a blessing to all those He healed and taught.
And that's just in Mark 1. We see this pattern repeated over and over throughout the Gospels:
Pray, surrender, minister, repeat.
It is a pattern we must do as well in our own lives and ministries.