“Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people” – Mark 6:7
I was in the produce section of Wal-Mart the other day when I saw Pastor Charles from another church in town. As is our custom when we run into one another, we stood there talking about God, church, Scriptures and life. We can’t seem to find the time to have a lunch together, but we have the time to share and encourage one another for half an hour while we lean up against the banana display. Weird.
While we were talking about teaching the Scriptures, Pastor Charles reminded me of the scene in Mark where Jesus couldn’t do many miracles in Nazareth, His home town, because the people there lacked faith. Mark 6:6 says, “And he was amazed at their unbelief.”
I know how Jesus felt. And so does Pastor Charles. We spend so much of our time as pastors soothing the saints and reassuring the redeemed we are the first to be amazed when people still doubt God and His Word and make the life of the church fifteenth on their list of important places to get involved in. We listen to people claim to love God’s Word but fail to show up consistently to Bible studies when they are offered. We hear people claim that their life is not their own because Jesus is their Lord, and then they complain when life isn’t going their way all the time. It is about this time in the life of a pastor when we wonder if we are doing anybody any good.
That’s why meeting Pastor Charles was so timely for me. I needed to know that Jesus felt my confusion, was amazed at people’s unbelief, yet never gave up His mission or His ministry. After telling us Jesus was amazed at the people’s unbelief, Mark says in the very next verse, “Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people.”
My job as a pastor isn’t to get people to accept the Word I teach. Neither does my calling ever include a time to stop teaching. If only five people show up for Bible study on Wednesday night, I need to teach like there were five hundred there. I know what I want to do. I want to tell the church, “You have voted with your feet that Bible study isn’t important to you so we are cancelling it. Call me if you change your mind.” That’s what my pride wants to do. It wants to stand up and tell people how good and holy I am because I want to teach the Word but how unholy and selfish they are because they don’t want to study the Word. I want to take the bully pulpit and justify my bad attitude at the expense of others. And by talking with other pastors, I’m not the only one.
But then I run into a brother in Wal-Mart who reminds me that after being rejected by His hometown, Jesus turned and went from village to village, teaching the people. Jesus never forgot His mission and His purpose for being with us. He was amazed at their unbelief, not angry. He was amazed, but didn’t take it personal. He just continued on. And this is what I sense He is telling me.
And so will I.