Looking back on 2016 and ahead to this new year, it’s important for each of us to really take stock of our goals and the purpose behind what God is calling us to do. As I’m sure we’ve all learned in our own way, it’s not often easy to follow a unique path crafted just for you. It’s not usually straightforward, simple or even clear all the time. But as we embark on new achievements in 2017, it’s essential that we recognize why we’re doing what we’re doing and who we are doing it for. That’ll help us keep our focus no matter what comes our way.
Mark chapter 6 opens with a story about Jesus’ own ministry being limited among the people He was closest to. His family, friends and members of His hometown were doubtful and ultimately rejected Him. Despite knowing all things, verse 6 says still, “he was amazed at their unbelief.” (Mark 6:6, NLT)
Even Jesus couldn’t do His purposed work in His hometown without disdain or pushback from those who knew Him. People questioned His qualifications and scoffed at His background, refusing to believe in Him and even taking offense at His attempts to carry out such a powerful ministry. Now, think about this:
If this happened to Jesus, the Almighty God, how much more will we experience this?!
Undoubtedly, we’ll get pushback from those we expect support as we strive to attain our goals this new year. It’s hurtful, and even surprising, but we cannot let it deter us from pursuing the purpose we know God has given us. So what are we to do?
In the verses that follow, Jesus sends out His disciples, empowering them to minister following His own example. Recognizing the rejection and opposition He faced and likely anticipating the same for them, He gave them these instructions:
“But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” – Mark 6:11, NLT
Shake it off. That’s what we must do when we come against nay-sayers or other people who try to hold us back from fulfilling our God-given purpose. When you know what God has given you to do, pursue it wholeheartedly and don’t let anyone or anything steer you away. Brush off all criticism, doubt, fear or disbelief others may try to sow in your heart and KEEP IT MOVING!
Not everyone will understand. Even Jesus’ disciples had several moments when they lacked understanding of just what He was doing (feeding the 5,000 or walking on water, for example).
This is why we don’t do what we’re called to do for people, but for God.
This year, we must seek to please the giver of our purpose, not the onlookers to it.