A Lenten Performance Review

 In Pastor Jeff's Blog

And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons. – Mark 3:14-15

Lots of people followed Jesus as he traveled, but he chose twelve of these followers to form his inner circle. And he called them apostles, from a Greek word meaning “one who is sent”. We are all apostles, empowered in baptism with the Holy Spirit to be sent out into the world to join God in God’s mission of restoring and redeeming, revealing the Kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven”.

But notice the three-part position description of an apostle. First, to be with Jesus. Second, to be sent out to proclaim the message. Third, authorized to cast out demons.

If Jesus were to give you a performance review, how would he evaluate the level to which you are fulfilling your position as an apostle?

How are you doing at “being with Jesus”, dwelling daily in Scripture and contemplative silence, making corporate worship a priority, investing into a community of two or more where Jesus promises to be present (Matthew 18:20), serving “the least of these” (Matthew 25:34ff) and just being mindful of Jesus’ promised presence in every moment of every day?

How are you doing at proclaiming the message of God’s love and forgiveness in Jesus, not just with your words but with your actions? Not all are called to be preachers, but we are all called to be proclaimers of the Good News of God’s love, and the most powerful means of proclamation at our disposal is often our actions.

How are you doing at casting out demons? Everyone is “possessed” by things that hold them captive and keep them from experiencing hope and wholeness. How are you doing at partnering with God in setting people free from the demons of poverty, prejudice, injustice, addiction, jealousy and greed? Jesus has given you the authority in your baptism to exorcise these demons.

Lent is a wonderful time to reflect on the gap between our calling as apostles and the reality of our lives. It’s a season to confess our shortcomings and ask for the transforming power of God to narrow that gap and live more profoundly into our calling as apostles. If we’ll lean into that practice, Easter will become more than a celebration of Jesus’ new life. It will be a celebration of our new life as well.

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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