“Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons” – Mark 3:14,15
The world is a hectic place. Even before our present world crisis, the challenges of coping were great and now we are going through hugely difficult times as we see businesses going under, people not able to pay mortgages and rent, lockdown taking its toll on emotional health, the stressful impact it has on relationships, the fear of the Covid-19 infection affecting us and loved ones… the list goes on. Couple this with the additional challenges faced by many trying to avoid misusing substances to self-medicate or to provide some short-term relief. Statistics show us that mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are increasing as are the statistics for people contemplating suicide. Keeping a positive outlook is hard in such a fearful and uncertain climate.
In this account from early in the gospels, against a background of similarly great need, Jesus was careful to get the order of events right. The need was great in the land and while Jesus DID choose His people to send out and address the need at hand, the primary purpose was that they might be with Him. Jesus of course fully understood the task in hand but knew that before they would ever accomplish that which was in the purpose of God they would firstly need to “learn of me” (Matt 11:29) . He told the disciples on one occasion (Matt 9:37) “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” He did not follow that in verse 38 by saying “so the few I have must work harder, must go further, must do more!”. No – instead he followed it with “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest.”
In effect Jesus is saying before we get exasperated, or overwhelmed by the challenge ahead and stressed by our own human weaknesses and fall into human effort to accomplish Gods purposes (which is doomed to failure) we must seek him first – after all it is He who is Lord of the harvest, it is He who owns the field it is, only He that can clearly see the work for his disciples and to where and how they should go. It is only He who has the power to save a soul and to make the sick well!
One thing I love about working with Street Connect is that all workers and management have a strong commitment to be with Jesus before we ever seek to do anything for Jesus.
Everyone at Street Connect knows that Jesus loves people for their intrinsic worth and not for what they can do “for” Him. In Luke 15, even when the prodigal was living unclean with pigs, his father longed for his return so His child could be with him as a son first before he served. At street connect we prioritise daily group prayer, we practice individual prayer before entering the harvest field on the highways and byways, and we pray when we are in the fields to which the Lord sends us. We always remember being with Jesus must always take priority before being sent out by Him, and that when we get this right we can be sure He himself will call us “…to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons”.
This blog post was written by Alec Nicol, Service Development Manager at Street Connect.