In the Gospel reading today from Mark 6, Jesus is sending his 12 apostles out with instructions, two by two, giving them authority over unclean spirits. They were to preach repentance. King David in the first reading from 1 Kings 2 is getting ready to die and he instructs his son Solomon about observing God’s statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees as they are written in the law of Moses. In both readings, God entrusts sinful, ordinary people to lead others to God. Over 2000 years later, here I am loving and seeking God because of people like David, Solomon and the Apostles of Jesus.
I have spent much of my life trying to be great at everything for my glory. I wanted to be the best athlete, musician, student, business man, etc. that I could be. My competitive nature was strong and I learned that winning was extremely important. It took me 33 years of my life to be open to accept someone speaking to me about God. I considered my life to be fine without God because I knew nothing of him. I had no real guidelines in life other than what my parents, teachers and friends taught me. I was a people pleaser and wanted people to like me at all cost. I learned how to manipulate teachers and adults to get what I wanted and with peers, I became a leader so I could do things my way to get what I wanted.
My past is not something that I shy away from. It is filled with grave mistakes, sins and terrible choices. Every one of these mishaps are great blessings. Because of the teaching of many like King David and the apostles, I have grown to know Jesus. People like you reading and blogging inspire me daily with your reflections and life stories. Jesus told his apostles today that “whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” I can say that I have not been left behind as there are so many merciful followers of the Lord who have prayed for me, helped me, been patient with me and guided me to better choices and of course, all through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Today’s scripture reminds me to be ever thankful to God and those he has given me in my life. I am thankful for both the good and the bad. I am thankful for my sufferings and my joys. I am thankful for the grace of repentance and most thankful for the mercy of God. I would hope that I would never have to shake the dust off of my feet to anyone. My gift is not teaching, preaching or instructing but living each day by example using the fruit of the Holy Spirit given me. I can show love, spread joy, share peace, be patient, kind, gentle and generous, be a good and faithful servant, practice self-control and be modest and chaste. Hoping always to be the best version of myself. Thanks be to God!
Mike Burke; Thursday, February 4, 2016