Jun 17, 2014

Crowd Pleasers.....

Reading Plan: The Book of Matthew
June Memory Chunk: Psalm 23
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"....Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him." Matthew 12:15

Something that I notice in the book of Matthew and throughout the New Testament is this.....

Jesus withdrew a lot.

Jesus did not like crowds. At all.

He often went away from the crowds, even when they followed Him.

Y'all, before we dig deeper,  I have to tell you something funny. The Lord laid this teaching on my heart as I was blow drying my hair yesterday. I am so serious!

Here are my notes written on our bathroom mirror....

side note--always keep a dry erase marker in your bathroom.
great revelations come when you are getting dressed!

See, what I mean? When God speaks, He speaks! It doesn't really matter what we are doing at the moment. Blow drying our hair can be some serious God business! Who knew?

Okay, back to the lesson.

Jesus often went away from the crowds. He preferred a small group.

He chose twelve, only twelve men to teach, mentor, and disciple.

Why did He choose just twelve?

I think that if Jesus would have had a lot of disciples following Him around, He would have lost His focus. He would also have lost the authenticity of His discipleship.

Follow me for a minute...

When we are surrounded by a "crowd" of onlookers, we often get swayed by their opinions. We want to please them. We want them to like us. We long for their approval.

We live in a world that glorifies "followers". This world glorifies the ability to have the most "followers" and the most "likes". Right?

Y'all know this is truth!

Unfortunately this can take our focus off of our desire for approval from God, and give us the craving for the approval of man.

We can become obsessed with the crowd of onlookers, instead of becoming obsessed with the One we should be looking to....God.

The world says give me more, more, more. More money, more things, more friends, more followers, more approval, more everything.

God's Word says:

"There is only one thing worth being concerned about." Luke 10:42

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Matthew 6:33

The world defines our success by our popularity. We think that if we don't have a crowd around us, a big ministry, a big important job, a lot of money, a lot of friends...that we are failures.

In fact it is completely the opposite.

"Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:4

Some of the greatest mentors and teachers in my life have been complete nobody's by the world's standards. They are unknown, followed by few, and are not found hanging out in big crowds.

They are quiet, gentle, meek, God-seeking, and God-focused.

These mentors have taught me, poured into me, and helped to establish roots in my faith journey more than anyone else.

These women didn't have a classroom with a hundred students. Their lives were the classroom. They taught me by the way they lived. {and they still teach me!}Their timely words gave me strength. The truth they spoke into my life gently guided me and corrected me.

Real life training and changing comes from a real-life experience. We can read all of the greatest encouraging books in the world and not be changed. We can hear incredible sermons on Sunday, and not be changed.

 However, when we see it first-hand in our everyday living, we can absorb it, learn it, and then live it out.

That, my friend, is true discipleship.

Jesus had a classroom of 12 disciples. He had to make sure that those twelve would live, breathe, and fulfill the Great Commission once He was gone. He knew that He had to establish deep, unshakable roots in the lives of these men. His concentration and focus was on these twelve.

He could not have done that in a large group. The roots would not have been as deep or as wide.

Because His focus was small, the outcome was huge.

The size of your ministry, sweet friend, does not determine it's effectiveness.

The smallest of acts, the tiniest of gestures, day in and day out reap HUGE outcomes.

"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things." Matthew 25:23

Maybe you are a momma, wondering if you are making a difference in the seemingly small world you wake up in each day.....

Maybe you are a hard worker and daily do your job with faithful diligence wondering if anyone notices how hard you are working....

Maybe you are one of many students in a classroom just wondering how to find your place in this world...

Maybe you are a teacher wondering if you have impacted any of your students.....

Maybe you are not surrounded by friendships and often crave to have your phone ringing off the hook with people wanting to hang out with you...

Maybe you are shy, meek, and insecure, rejected, neglected, and crave to be noticed....by anyone....

Maybe you have a dream in your heart, a BIG dream that you desire to be fulfilled....

Let me assure you, sweet friend, YOU can and will be called GREAT in the Kingdom of God.

Great people in the kingdom of God are not established by the world's standards. Often they are unnoticed, not given any praise, and have very few followers.

Let me remind you again....

 Jesus chose 12. Just 12.

Jesus is teaching us a big lesson here.

It's not about  big numbers. It's the quality, not the quantity.

I used to strive to have many friendships. Despite the number of friendships that I had, I felt lonely.

One day,  the Lord spoke right into my heart. "Friendships lose their quality when you have too much quantity."


He was so right.

From that moment on, I asked Him to filter out friendships that were not right for me at that time, or that I was just hanging on to for "quantity".

The friendships that were left became fuller, deeper, sweeter, and more meaningful.

Less ended up being much, much more.

Jesus was able to establish His work here on Earth, because He left it in the hands of very few.

Those few changed the world.

Those few spread the gospel to many nations.

Those few are still spreading the gospel to many nations--two thousand years later.

I encourage you today, to lose the crowd-pleaser mentality. There is no fruit there. No everlasting value.

Focus on the few.

Those few will be impacted greatly because you were able to pour more into them. You won't have to spread yourself paper thin by being at the mercy of a big crowd.

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve"
Colossians 3:23-24

less really is more,


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