Ministry in Motion: Mark 4:35-36
“35) On that day, when evening came, He *said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36) Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him.” Mark‬ ‭4‬:‭35‬-‭36‬
These two verses speak volumes. It is easy to skip over them. But let’s hit the pause button and muse on these verses for a few minutes. I believe they contain an important message for us.
As the crowds were increasing, Jesus made the abrupt decision to depart to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Keep in mind, these parables started because the multitude had grown so large that Jesus got into a boat and had His disciples push off shore so He could teach from a floating pulpit. (See Mark 4:1)
When He finished teaching, Jesus did something astounding. Rather than landing on shore and trying to navigate the crowd, Jesus simply ordered His disciples to cross over to the other side. Verse 36 says; “Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him.”
They didn’t return home and pack, buy supplies or even say goodbye. They merely pointed the bow toward the other side of the lake and departed. It is reasonable that the boat had some supplies on board, but not for Jesus. The text says, “they took Jesus along with them, just as He was…” Other boats also followed, but the storm may have caused some to turn back.
So what is the application to these verses? This is an easy to miss and even get wrong, but ministry is often spontaneous. We need to be flexible to set our plans aside and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
We thrive on detailed schedules. For example, I like setting a day aside to pray and prepare for intervention sessions with demonically tormented people. But I don’t always have that luxury. I am learning that Jesus is always present with me and ready for anointed ministry.
We in the western church expect the Holy Spirit to show up during the slot of time set aside for Him in our Sunday morning service. We are gracious and flexible to allow a fifteen minute margin just in case something really special happens. But then we need to pack up and move on to the other activities we have planned.
But Jesus and His disciples were always prepared and ready for whatever they encountered. They were ready to preach, teach, heal, cast out demons and meet pressing needs whenever and wherever it folded around them. They practiced “Ministry in Motion.”
When you study the four Gospels and the book of Acts, you discover that much of ministry was not planned. It was spontaneous, providential and powerful. Ministry unfolded within the ebb and flow of daily life. They didn’t always have time to pray, plan and schedule the next event. They did ministry in motion as they went through each day.
Frankly, these two verses convict me! God is showing me that walking in the Spirit means 1 Peter 3:15; “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence…” I am consciously trying to follow those inner promptings throughout the day and talk to people with open ended conversation. I am trying to learn “ministry in motion.”
Let me be clear, this is not my usual western mindset. I am conditioned to schedule the working of the Holy Spirit. The balance of the time is for me, my bucket list and my activities.
I’ve been a difficult case, but I am trying to learn the meaning of ministry in motion. Faith is in the now. Ministry unfolds in the now. Walking in the Spirit is in the now. Ministry happens in motion. Praying and communing with God is in the now! The filling of the Holy Spirit is constant throughout the day. As a result we can always be ready for spontaneous ministry.
Here is the application: God wants to use you and me for His glory just as we are in the now. Ministry unfolds in the now through the ebb and flow of every day life. God is always at work around us and He invites us to join Him and discover the power of “Ministry in Motion.”
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global