Serve it Up

We have all either had or heard the question: How do I grow in my faith?


All my Christian life, I have heard a fairly consistent answer to this questions. If you want to grow in your faith, read you bible, pray, and go to church. I believe these are correct, good, and should be encouraged, but I believe this answer to be incomplete.

Over the past few months, I have been wondering if Jesus himself followed this trifold solution (of course, not that Jesus had any problems…he was perfect). I would like to set out a survey of the Gospel of Mark that looks at the story and attempts to categorize everything with three actions:

Personal Bible Study, Prayer Time, Serving Others.

These terms need to be defined. Personal bible study would be Jesus alone with his bible reading away (my intention is not to discuss what bible Jesus read, that is a whole other discussion). Prayer time would be Jesus going alone to a place to pray. Serving others would be Jesus investing time, energy, and talents to the betterment of others lives. Serving may look like teaching others, healing others, feeding others, etc.

Here is my survey of 8 chapters of Mark in light of this discussion:

Passage                              Basic Description                            Category

1:1-8 John the Baptist prepares the way Serving
1:9-13 Jesus Baptized and Jesus Tempted Praying
1:14-20 Calling of the first Disciple Serving
1:21-28 Jesus drives out and evil spirit Serving
1:29-34 Jesus Heals Many Serving
1:35-39 Praying in a solitary place Praying
1:40-45 Jesus heals a man with leprosy Serving
2:1-12 Jesus heals a paralytic Serving
2:13-17 Calling of Levi Serving
2:18-22 Jesus answers questions about fasting Serving
2:23-3:6 Teaching about the Sabbath Serving
3:7-12 Crowds Follow Jesus/He heals many Serving
3:13-19 Jesus Appoints the 12 Apostles Historical Description
3:20-30 Jesus and Beelzebub Serving
3:31-35 Jesus identifies his spiritual family Serving
4:1-34 A string of parables: sower, lamp, growing seed, mustard seed Serving
4:35-41 Jesus Calms the storm Serving
5:1-20 Healing of a demon possessed man Serving
5:21-43 Dead Girl and a sick woman Serving
6:1-6 Teaches and miracles in hometown Serving
6:6b-13 Jesus send out the 12 and the preach and heal Serving
6:14-29 John the Baptist Beheaded Historical Description
6:30-44 Jesus feeds 5,000 Serving
6:45-59 Jesus walks on water Serving
7:1-23 Teaching on Clean and Unclean Serving
7:24-30 The Faith of a Woman Serving
7:31-37 The Healing of a deaf and mute man Serving
8:1-13 Jesus feeds 4,000 Serving
8:14-21 Jesus teaches about the Pharisee Serving
8:22-26 Jesus heals a blind man Serving
8:27-30 Jesus teaches who he is through Peter’s confession Serving
8:31-9:1 Jesus predicts his death Serving


Through 8 chapters, we have 2 historical descriptions, 2 occurrences of praying, 0 occurrences or personal bible time, and 28 occurrences of serving others. What can we learn from looking at Jesus’ life as recorded in the Gospel of Mark? We learn that by far Jesus spent a great amount of time serving and investing in the lives around us. Next time someone asks you, “What can I do to grow in my faith?” or you yourself are wondering what you can do to grow in your faith…by all means read your bible, pray, go to church, but please do no neglect the reality that we are most like Christ when we serve others.


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