3. People mattered greatly to Jesus, but their needs did not set the agenda or establish the boundaries for His life and ministry – the Father did. (Mark 3:8-12)
I believe and have often taught that Jesus is not only our source of salvation but is also our pattern for life and ministry. But here’s an often missed reality: while Jesus lived on earth for 33+ years, His public ministry only occurred in the last 10% of His time on earth. So what did He do in the other 90%? That’s an important question and one that helps normal everyday children of God find delight in their families, vocations, neighborhoods, etc.
Jesus did no miracles for the first 30 years. But He still manifested the life and love of heaven…daily! His life and relationships and choices all wonderfully pleased His Father – PERFECTLY. Before His public ministry was launched, just after His baptism, the Father said to Him, “You are My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased.”
Jesus did not promote Himself, His ministry, or supernatural powers…before the Father’s time. He was content to love people where they were…the way they were…without doing works that would draw great attention to Himself.
But this all changed when the season for His public ministry began. Crowds began to swamp Him. In our text we read how He had a get-away plan. A boat was kept ready so He could escape the crowd if necessary. Though He was amazingly available to massive numbers of people at times, at other times He actually hid from them. He often went away to lonely places to pray.
And how about this: He earnestly told the people to not tell who He was! (v.12) This is pretty amazing. It suggests that Jesus was doing crowd control. And also seeking to not draw so much attention to Himself that the “authorities” would become too concerned too soon. It also may relate to the physical limitations of His own humanity and that of His inexperienced disciples.
To summarize, we must learn how to allow God Himself to establish our ministry and its boundaries. We must trust Him for wisdom and anointing to do what He’s called us to do. But we should also realize we cannot do everything and are not called to do everything. We must acknowledge our limitations and set boundaries that are in keeping with the timings and the scope of what God has truly called us to do.
Finally, saying “no” is usually much harder than saying, “yes”, to people. But our “nos” often define what our God-called boundaries are better than our “yeses” do!