Does it seem like you have a million tasks to accomplish today for the Lord? Every day do you make a list, prioritize, and get it done? Is this your schedule, agenda, and work mantra? As a Christian, we are encouraged by James 1:22 in the Bible to “be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only.” Doesn’t this sound right–to be focused and getting a lot accomplished for the Lord with your time and energy?
Have you heard the story about the Jewish father teaching his son about the Passover and preparing their unblemished lamb? The father and son chose and raised a lamb together for the Passover Feast. They took great care as a family because the lamb would be their sacrificial gift to The Lord. For months the father told his son about God’s faithfulness and love. He shared the purpose of the lamb as a symbol of forgiveness and their worship of God. The Passover Feast finally arrived. It was their time as a family to honor God and to follow the Jewish law and customs. They waited for a long time in line with other families in order to present their well groomed and unblemished lamb to the priest. The young boy waited expectantly because of the great preparation which he and his father had made for the Passover Feast. By the time they got to the front of the line and to the altar, the priest had been working for hours; his clothes were red from the blood of the other lambs. The priest had grown tired and weary from the long day and the heat from the fire of the altar. He became indifferent, treating each lamb as just another task, just another job that he had to get accomplished. The priest grabbed the lamb from the little boy’s hands, slit the Lamb’s throat, and threw it onto the altar. Then the priest yelled out, “Next.” Have we as ministers grown callous from handling the holy things of God? Are our days filled with the tasks of the Lord and have we grown weary of the endless calls, counseling sessions, meetings, and sermon prep times? Are we yelling out, “Next?”
Remember the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10? Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha and the two sisters make very different choices about how to respond to Jesus’ presence. One of them, Mary, sits down at his feet and listens to his teaching. The other, Martha, apparently goes off to do some work.
Then Martha comes back to the room where Mary and Jesus are, and complains that her sister has left her to do all the work. She asks for Jesus’ support in this little tiff with her sister: “Don’t you care that she’s left me to do all the work?” But Jesus doesn’t appear to! In fact, he says that it is Mary who has “chosen the better part.”1
Do we make the best choice as a minister? Do we faithfully and endlessly work for the Lord and complete the many tasks of ministry or do we take time to BE with God? Do we value the tasks of the Lord more highly than the relationship with the Lord?
John 15 speaks of remaining or abiding in Him just as the vine abides in the branch. Our strength comes from abiding in Him! In verse 5 John states that “apart from me you can do nothing.” What makes us think we can do all the work and tasks of ministry and not abide in Him? I believe the Lord might describe these accomplishments as hay and stubble.2 However, verse 5 contrasts with verse 7 where Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” We must abide in Him.
Our relationship with the Lord is our best choice. Just as Mary, let’s be sure we begin each day at the feet of Jesus with a new pattern of ministry by abiding in His presence and choosing the better!! Let’s show our love and adoration by seeking our Heavenly Father first.
Reposted from Dr. R. W. Bobby Martin with permission.
2. I Corinthians 3:8-15