I started this blog series with a focus on how we need these rhythms of returning to Jesus’ feet for renewal. But let’s take that one step further. We also need these rhythms to help us remember.
Remember when we walked through Mark 6? Well only a few short chapters later, in Mark 8, we witness the forgetfulness of the disciples.
Again, Jesus has been teaching great crowds of people for several days, and again he has compassion for them. He desires to feed them, to satisfy their need for hunger, and he voices that to the disciples. Their response shows their forgetfulness of what Jesus had already done.
“And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”” (Mark 8:4 ESV).
They forgot. But again, Jesus asks them the same question as before: what do you have (vs. 5)?
The outcome? Once again, Jesus performs a miracle with seven loaves of bread. He feeds and satisfies over 4,000 people.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in this same chapter, Jesus teaches something extremely crucial for the Christ-follower to understand. I think it’s a good place to sit for a while as we consider what it means to truly pursue these rhythms of renewal and remembrance, and the ultimate purpose behind them.
Why should we seek renewal? Why do we seek to remember what the Lord has done? Ultimately, these actions cultivate a heart of self-denial and greater dependence on the Lord.
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:34 – 38).
I love what the ESV study Bible commentary writes about this in the footnotes: “Self-denial means letting go of self-determination and replacing it with obedience to and dependence on the Messiah.”
Think about that for a moment. Letting go of self-determination and replacing it with obedience to and dependence on the Messiah. Let me challenge you to join me in contemplating – what does that look like in my life? Here are a few questions I would encourage you to ponder.
What needs to happen in your life so that you can let go of self-determination and self-reliance?
How can you replace these with obedience to and dependence on the Messiah?
Let’s conclude with this encouragement from scripture.
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11).
May that encourage you today, friend. We have a true shepherd who satisfies us – both when the crowds are pressing in and when we retreat to be alone with him. He tends to us, gathers us, carries us, and leads us in the paths we need to walk. We can trust him. May that encourage us today and everyday as we seek to do his will.
One more post in this series coming next week – it’ll have all the practical ideas for pursuing these rhythms in daily life.