Scripture Reading: Mark 6:1-13
He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honor, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. –Mark 6:1-6
One of the most maddening things I dealt with as a government employ was the constant demand to bring in people from outside the agency to recommend ways to improve. Now, let me say upfront I do believe in consulting anyone who can actually help, but the people who know where the real problems are, are the people in the thick of it. They may not be as articulate about sharing their insight, and, yes, they may have on blinders regarding solutions outside their area of experience, but they know better than most the issues of the everyday and they more than anyone else want their agency to succeed. Their very lives, in many cases depend on it.
The story of Balaam, his donkey, and the angel (Numbers 22:30) comes to mind. Balaam had been called to help the Moabites against Israel and God told him not to go. The Moabites returned and ask him to go again and this time God told him to go but to do only what God commanded. Balaam got on his donkey and headed down the road when an angel with a sword appeared blocking his way. Balaam could did not see the angel. His donkey saw it and veered off course for which Balaam beat him. God finally opened Balaam’s eyes to the presence of the angel. And the donkey said to Balaam something to the effect, “Have I ever steered you wrong before?”
To heal the church, we need to work diligently on those issues on which we agree and share common goals and talk to each other across the issues that divide us discerning the will of God with dedication to God’s ways in general. Jesus taught us God’s ways, a great place to start.
Prayer: O Lord, donkeys have the reputation of sometimes being stubborn, is this story trying to tell us something about ourselves in following you? Open our eyes to your way and lead us down right paths. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.