Today's Gospel: Mark 6:7-13 My friend Jess always makes the best mixed CDs for her kids' birthday party favors. That's how Taylor Swift's song "Shake It Off" made its way into our lives. Although my boys cringe when it comes on, my daughter and I sing together at the top of our lungs. I love the message behind it: Despite the mean things people think or say, shake it off. Unkind people try to drag us down. It's a power play: a game created by them, with their rules, with them in charge. Why would we expend any time and energy on a game we'll never win? If we even let them engage us, we hand over our power. It's fascinating to me that this twenty-something, beautiful pop-star is echoing the words of Jesus from two thousand years ago. In Mark 6, when Jesus is sending His disciples out for the first time, He says the same thing; then takes it a step further: If anyone rejects you, don't just shake off what they think and say, shake off the dust of that place in testimony against them. Of course none of us is perfect; and we could all try harder. But when we do try our best, what people think or say doesn't matter. There are only so many hours in a day to accomplish what we need to do. Jesus want us to stay focused on what's good and true, shaking off everything else that robs us of our joy, and our purpose.


Do I let what people think and say rob me of my joy? Whose approval should I really be seeking?


Ever-encouraging God, remind me that the only opinion I need to concern myself with is Yours. Give me the strength and courage I need to always choose the right thing, no matter how unpopular.
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