I think its Hauerwas that has said that pastors are "quivering masses of availability." Would this adequately describe Jesus? Not if you ask Mark's Gospel.
When I read Mark 1:29-39, my first though isn't "Wow, Jesus drives out demons and heals diseases!" or "Wow, Jesus prays to himself!"
My first thought is - wow, Jesus is a wise time manager!
Important people have folks who's job revolves around keeping said important person on time. They call them handlers. Presidents have handlers. Movie stars have handlers. Even some pastors have handlers. Anyone who's job/persona/responsibilities are too large for a single human to manage needs a handler. They feed important information, block unimportant people/stuff, and make sure that double espresso low-fat latte with a sprinkle of cinnamon
makes it there hot. These guys:
When I read in Mark that the Disciples find Jesus praying and they fill him in on the situation, I get the impression they want some direction. What do you want to do Jesus? Are you going to minister to these people? Everyone is looking for you! They feel a bit like handlers to me looking for some direction...
A lot is said about managing your time wisely. Pastors? Not so much. Its all about being available. Our self-worth is often wrapped up in whether you were there for this or that family in their time of need. I've done it before. I've said, "hey, I'm on call 24/7"
But Jesus doesn't work that way. He's an effecient time manager.
He spends time with those in need. I don't even want to touch the whole demon/disease thing. Bottom line is Jesus is treating PEOPLE, not the problems.
He spends time with God. Lord is this scripture convicting. I'm not a morning person. I'm a night person. John Wesley required his Methodist pastors to rise at 4am for prayer and devotion. I don't go to bed because I'm tired, I stay in bed in the morning because I am. Where is my devotion!? Where is my time with God? Jesus adequately juggles time
While all that might seem painfully obvious, this part might not: Jesus remains in God's will the whole time. He isn't doing God's will when he's healing folks and then he sits back and says, "phew! Thats enough of that, time for a break." and he doesn't pray for himself. He is in complete devotion. This angle brings up some interesting issues because I don't know if I approach my life with such complete devotion.
The truth is, the disciples aren't Jesus' handlers. God is. At this point in the Gospel, the disciples are much more like us - exactly as we've always known them - unsure, eager, and somewhat blind to what is really important to God. For Mark's Gospel, Jesus has come to proclaim two things. Repentence and the Kingdom of God. Salvation has come! How often do we stand in the way of Jesus mission because we try to handle him a specific way? Go here Jesus...don't go there Jesus... when am I going to just let him go where he wants? Everyone is looking for Jesus! Isn't this true in our world too? Everyone wants something greater than what this world offers. And if they don't, they simply haven't exausted all their possibilities yet.
When our worth is wrapped up in who's we are instead of who we are (job/persona/responsibilities), it frees us from being quivering masses of availability.
The next time someone tries to jab you with "If you loved me, you'd blah..." rest assured in the one who loves you. He won't always leave you where you are, but he loves it when you are always seeking his will.
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