Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Mark 5:18-19 – 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." (NIV 2011)
When I first became a Christian, I wanted to tell the whole world about Jesus, but my biggest problem was how to communicate my faith to my family and friends. They knew everything about me — the good, the bad, and the ugly — so convincing them that I had changed was an uphill task. They watched me go from a heavily drinking alcoholic to a fervent disciple of Jesus. I guess they thought that all I was doing was replacing one form of addiction with another, which to some degree was actually true. It took years for them to accept that my faith was truly a life-changing experience for me, but I don't think that it had any real influence over their own individual spirituality.
At the end of today's gospel story in Mark 5:1-20, when Jesus heals the demoniac, the healed man asks to follow Jesus and go with Him. Christ, however, did not let him. Instead, Jesus wanted the man to go back to his own people and tell them the story of his miraculous cure. In other words, Jesus was giving him a mission to spread the news about God's mercy and grace in a region that had actually rejected Jesus. It would be an uphill task, because the man's people would remember him as a deranged lunatic, so it would take years for his story to be accepted.
We all love our families dearly, as well as our closest friends. Sharing our faith with them can sometimes be a hard thing to do, but it is a worthwhile mission. We never know what long-term effect our faithfulness to Christ will have with the kinfolk around us. So long as we love and cherish them, our faith may have a positive influence on their own lives. We just have to keep praying and persevering without being self-righteous, condemnatory, or overbearing. As Jesus Himself said, "Tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you."
Points to ponder: How do I communicate my faith to my family? Do I show them love, mercy, and grace?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, bless our families and friends with Your love and goodness. Help us to cherish and support them, so that they may see that our faith in You is both compassionate and encouraging. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.