August 31, 2016 • Life for Leaders
Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.
One day, Jesus went up a mountain and called out twelve from the larger group of his disciples. These would be Jesus’ team, those who would extend the ministry of the kingdom through preaching and setting people free from demonic powers. But the twelve whom Jesus identified were not just entering a preacher’s training program. At the center of their calling, they were to “be with” Jesus.
This passage underscores the relational core of discipleship. We who follow Jesus are to learn his teaching. We are also to learn how to do his works. But the center of discipleship isn’t gaining theological knowledge or practical ministry skills. Rather, it is being with Jesus.
Sometimes we Christians forget this. We can get so wrapped up in learning about Jesus that we neglect to spend time with him in prayer and worship. Or we get so involved in the good works of the Christian life that we don’t have time to be quiet in the presence of Christ. Theological growth and acts of love are essential to the full Christian life, but they only find their rightful place in the context of a central, vital relationship with God through Christ.
We can nurture this relationship in special times of worship, devotion, and service. But we can also “be with” Jesus each moment of each day, as we do our work, hang out with our friends and family, or get some exercise at the gym. In fact, learning to “be with” Jesus at all times is essential if we’re going to be his disciples in every part of life, including our work.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How do you spend time with Jesus?
What aspects of life, even of the Christian life, can take away from your relationship with God?
What helps you to know the Lord more deeply and truly?
How aware are you of Jesus’ presence in your workplace?
Dear Lord, today I’m reminded that the core of being a Christian is relationship with you. Even as you once called the twelve to be with you, so you have called me. What a joy and privilege! Thank you.
Of course I can’t spend time with you in the flesh. How I wish I could! You are with me in different ways today: in worship services and small groups in Bible study and prayer, in works of charity and service, in the loving community of your people. You are with me when I sit in front of my computer at work or spend time with friends in the evening. Help me, dear Lord, to be aware of your presence in these and other contexts. Keep me from becoming so wrapped up in ideas or actions that I neglect my relationship with you.
Thank you, Lord, for your Spirit, who dwells within me. Though you are not physically present with me, you are here, so that I might be with you. What a gift you have given me! Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: The Twelve (Mark 3:13-19)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.