Internal and External by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Jesus never forgot about his small group. While he spoke to the masses, and people were constantly seeking him out for healing, he did not disregard his twelve disciples. In Mark 9, Jesus had just healed a demon-possessed boy, one who the disciples tried to help and couldn’t. After that miraculous healing Jesus traveled through Galilee and did not want anyone to know he was there because he desired to spend more time with His disciples in order to teach them.

And boy, did he teach them. He told them he would be betrayed, killed, and three days later would rise from the dead. He instructed that whoever wants to be first needed to be last. He shared that children are important and that anyone who is not against them is for them. The last teaching was about sin, and he said if your hand, foot or eye causes you to sin, you might as well cut it off. He concluded, “It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out” (Mark 9:48). Wow Jesus, have you seen any good shows lately? “The Chosen” is a great series.

It was a heavy conversation, but Jesus cared deeply about his small group of twelve and wanted them to be ready when he physically departed the earth.

This passage was a reminder that our internal circle of family and friends is just as important of a ministry field as those we know externally.

When I thought of the love Jesus had for his disciples, I thought about our own Pearls of Promise team, now at eight, and the love I have for each of them. While we have a broad reach through our media, our small group is just as important, and I cherish the position I hold as servant leader.

In the same way, I try to live out my faith in front of family members. They know where I stand. My youngest son just sent me a photo of a beautiful piece of art in Prague where he is visiting. It depicted Jesus carrying his cross. He knew that would be meaningful to me and it also told me he’s watching and listening, and hopefully, witnessing authenticity.

Internal is every bit as important as external. Jesus knew that, and took every moment He could to teach and minister to his disciples. We cannot forget the ones God has placed in front of us to disciple. We should see it as a privilege and an honor that the Lord has entrusted each of us believers with a small group of His children to whom we can minister and to whom we can teach—just like Jesus did.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

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