“I was reading in Mark’s gospel this morning,” Stan began, “and I saw something that, at least to me, was interesting about obedience that leads to discipleship.”
“What did you see?” I asked.
“Jesus and those who were traveling with Him,” Stan responded, “had made their way to a man who had a serious problem with being possessed by many demons.”
“Is that the account where Jesus sent the demons into a herd of swine that then ran off the cliff into the sea and were drowned?”
“Same one,” Stan replied. “An amazing story of healing that changed everything about the man.”
“And,” I added, “the people who owned the swine that drowned were quite upset.’
“They were,” Stan said, “but that’s a different story for a different day.”
Continuing, he said, “What struck me about this story is that the man, once he was healed, asked Jesus if he could go with Him. Jesus told the man he could not. Instead, Jesus told the man to go home and tell everyone about what had happened.”
“Did he do that?” I asked.
“He did,” Stan replied, “and it says that everyone who heard of God’s mercy to the man marveled over the story of what Jesus had done.”
“To me,” Stan continued, “this is an example of obedience that probably had a profound impact on a lot of people. The man wanted to go with Jesus. Maybe he would have become one of the apostles, but Jesus knew best. He told the man to go home and impact the people with the story of what Jesus had done.”
“The man,” Stan added, “could have focused on his disappointment of not being allowed to go with Jesus, just sat around and said, ‘Poor me’. But he didn’t. He did what Jesus told him to do and many people were impacted.”
“For me,” Stan concluded, “this account is further proof that God’s plans for me are always a whole lot better than what I want to do apart from Him. If I will obey, God can and will use me for His purposes. If I don’t, He won’t.”
And as He (Jesus) was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was entreating Him that he might accompany Him. And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” And he went off and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone marveled. Mark 5:18 – 20.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your desire that I obey you in what you have for me to be and to do. I confess that too often I do not obey you, preferring what I want to do over what you have for me. Please forgive me. And please help me to truly conduct everything in and about my life from the perspective that you know a whole lot better than I do about what obedience means for your purposes in the lives and eternal destination of other people. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.