Mission Devotional - August 7, 2016

Opening Prayer: Jesus, help us to look at life from the perspective of what we have gained rather than what we have lost. Help us to look through the lenses of gratitude rather than entitlement. For when we do this, we see that what you have given us far outweighs whatever you could possibly ask of us. Thank you for that. Amen.

Scripture: Mark 10:28-31

Journal: What have you left to follow Jesus? What has it cost you? What have you gained? Which place will you live out of today?

Reflection: It's so easy at times to look at following Jesus in terms of what we have lost rather than what we have gained. Who knows, maybe Peter is even doing that in these very verses. But Jesus' answer clearly gives us the lenses through which he wants us to view the kingdom. And when we put on those lenses - the lenses of gratitude - it totally changes our perspective. Think about it for a moment. As you have followed Jesus, to this point in your life, what have you lost? What places has it caused you to sacrifice? Pay attention to these, because they will be many, and the cost, in some cases, will have been high. There may have been moves and job changes and pay cuts. It may have required much time and effort and energy. It may have cost you loss of sleep or peace or heart. All of these are likely costs that we may have faced as we sought to follow God's lead and direction in our lives.

Now take a few minutes and consider what you have actually gained from following Jesus? Oh maybe not in terms of material things and acclaim and worldly success, but in terms of quality of life and depth of relationships and a sense of meaning, purpose, and mission. I don't know about you, but when I add up the two - nearly fifty-six years into my life - it's not even close. It's just like Jesus said it would be. And it actually even feels way bigger than that. It feels like what he has given me is a thousand times more than what I had, rather than merely a hundred times more. It is an extraordinary life that God has given me. And I am so grateful. What about you?

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

J. and C. are working in a Creative Access country for World Outreach. J. is developing an entry platform using sustainable technologies that will provide income and economic development among the people they are ministering to. Pray today for wisdom as they look critically at the pace and scale of the project for the rest of this year.

FOCUS (Following Our Choices Unto Success) works in the Knox County Jail and Detention Facility, Taft Youth Center, and the four men's prisons of East Tennessee. The FOCUS work "Behind the Walls" includes evangelistic events, weekly support groups, discipleship classes, life-skills classes and one-on-one counseling. Pray for the work of FOCUS today.

Closing Prayer: Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know, to love what I ought to love, to praise what delights you most, to value what is precious in your sight, to hate what is offensive to you. Do not allow me to judge according to the sight of my eyes, nor to pass sentence according to the hearing of my ears; but to discern with a true judgment between things visible and spiritual, and above all things, always to inquire what is the good pleasure of Your will. - Thomas Á Kempis