The Valley of Ministry
Read: Mark 3:14
Many times throughout Jesus’ ministry He will retreat to a remote place, to pray in solitude. It will be the crush of the crowds which force Him there to recover from the exhaustion of ministry. During His ministry, the crowds were a problem and a possibility.
Ironically, what causes growth also can kill growth.
Jesus moves to higher ground and calls His followers to come with Him. In a quiet place He teaches them. When Jesus takes us up a mountain to teach us, it is for the purpose of preparing us for life and ministry in the valley.
Jesus had been preaching and casting out demons for a year and a half. The twelve had witnessed much of His ministry. Jesus desired that the twelve share in the same labor of love. People were Jesus’ plan and, from this point forward, His focus would be on the training of the twelve. There, on the mountain, Jesus explained the mandates of His mission.
The valley of ministry can cause discouragement, disillusionment and break the spirit. There on the mountainside, Jesus tells His disciples the kind of character they would need in order to survive and succeed in ministry. They would need to be people of humility, sincerity, righteousness, mercy, sensitivity, reconciliation, integrity and love. They would have to continually listen to the call which rested on their lives, maintain their first love and be willing to submit and suffer for the gospel. As they descended the mountain that day, the disciples knew the cost of discipleship. It would be the pursuit of their life.
Each of us must count the cost to follow Jesus and take His ministry to others. We cannot spend the rest of our days on the mountaintop sitting at the feet of Jesus continually listening to His words. Rather we are to go on out into the fields and do His work.
Let go of your glamorous, heroic ideas about service and commit to do the work He did and the work He has called you to do.