When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. Taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida. But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing. (Luke 9:10-11 NASB)
Jesus, Paul, Peter, and the others are supposed to be our ministry models. But I admit that I get rather grumpy when ministry intrudes into my “personal time”. Family time is family time, and ministry time is ministry time. And I feel justified in this because I also have work (I’m a “lay minister”). But Jesus (and Paul and Peter) seem to have no boundaries what so ever. It’s very frustrating not to be able to find biblical justification for selfish ministry boundaries.
And yes, that was out loud. Jesus would withdraw to quiet places to pray, but remember the reason we know this was that He was constantly interrupted. He withdraws to somewhere away from crowds, falls asleep in the boat, and a storm disturbs His sleep. He travels to another remote part of Galilee and the crowds follow. Yet look! He welcomes them. They interrupt His time with His disciples to let them download what happened, and He’s okay with that. Rather than “dismiss” the crowds, He welcomes them and continues to minister.
So, yes, Jesus had different views of the “boundaries” so precious in ministry. But the real point I find so impressive, is that His disciples see Him doing exactly what they had been doing so effectively earlier (Luke 9:6). He preaches and heals. In an important sense, Jesus affirms the thing He had empowered them to do as His true focus. He didn’t send them out so He wouldn’t have to do it any longer. He empowered them and sent them out so they could do it also! That’s a huge distinction. And it’s just laying about on the surface.
So, yes, I learn that my precious “boundaries” in ministry are actually selfish. But I also learn that I am empowered and sent to work alongside my Master, not instead of my Master. I’m not His replacement, second-team, fill-in until He gets His second wind. I’m His apprentice. So, I grab my apron, tools, and come over to join Him stroke for stroke as we repair together some of His creation. I watch Him, and do what I see Him do. Which is what they did.
That’s it. That’s what I had this morning. How about you? What’s your view through the knothole?