Where Ministry Begins

by Meredith Houston Carr March 24, 2023
“As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’” Mark 5:18-19 (NIV)

“Mom! I know what I want to be when I grow up!” My daughter’s eyes sparkled as she continued, “A famous YouTube star!”

I blinked a few times and tried to cover my surprise at her answer. “OK. Famous for what, exactly?”

“Who knows?! But I’ll have a million subscribers — and then I can tell them all about Jesus!” She skipped off, and I chuckled, relieved that Jesus factored into her YouTube plans.

Smiling, I thought of my own childhood desire for visibility. (Star Search, anyone?) I’d sit glued to the TV during awards shows, amazed and inspired when someone with a large platform spoke of their love for Jesus — and I imagined one day doing the same thing.

But that day, as I returned to the mountain of laundry before me, the persistent whisper of discouragement hit my heart. I couldn’t help but think of how far my quiet and simple life was from those youthful aspirations. Is my humble everyday life making any difference, God?

I wonder if you can relate to this doubt, especially considering our culture’s daily messaging: Be someone! Make something out of your life! Let them hear your voice! Bigger is better! We can begin to believe the lie that the one is somehow less important than the 1 million.

Maybe you long to share your testimony of healing and hope in your community or social media circles. But when you take stock of those circles, they can seem so small. As a result, you may feel insignificant and wonder: How can I possibly make a significant impact in my home, community or workplace?

If you’ve ever struggled with feeling small, you’re not alone! In Mark 5, we read the incredible story of Jesus healing a man possessed by a legion (i.e., a lot!) of demons. After this miraculous healing, the town begged Jesus to leave — but the man He’d healed had a different request:

“As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you’” (Mark 5:18-19).

Had I been in this man’s shoes, I imagine I’d have made much the same request: “Take me with You, Jesus! Let’s leave this town and travel on to bigger and better things!”

Of course, Scripture doesn’t tell us Jesus’ thoughts or why He said no, but we do see Jesus express concern and care for this man’s most immediate ministry: his family and friends.

The man wasn’t told to share his testimony with the entire region or drum up a following of thousands. Instead, Jesus recognized the value of the souls right there in his town.

Happily, this man responded in obedience and “began to tell … how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed” (Mark 5:20, NIV).

While we don’t know if their amazement turned to faith, it’s not hard to imagine there are souls in heaven because of this man's willingness to testify.

Dear one, if you’re feeling small, let the truth of these scriptures remind you that your life and testimony matter! Your ministry begins right where you are: with those under your roof, down the street, in the cubicle next to you, or in the church pew beside you.

You don’t need a million subscribers or a megaphone to influence others with the love and truth of Jesus. Indeed, those God has placed in your circle matter deeply to Him — and He’s given you the incredible, humbling job of sharing your testimony with them!

Today, let’s step out boldly and proclaim His mercy and healing in our lives.

Jesus, thank You for Your healing and mercy. When our circles of influence feel small, remind us every soul matters to You. Help us live out the gospel message to those around us today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


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Matthew 25:40, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (NIV)

Who in your circle could you begin ministering to today? What is one step you could take this week to spread gospel hope and love? Share your thoughts in the comments.

© 2023 by Meredith Houston Carr. All rights reserved.

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