When Jesus walked the dusty roads and fields of the Holy Land, He had just as much time as we do: twenty-four hours a day. One-hundred and sixty-eight hours a week. And fifty-two weeks each year. According to the New Testament accounts, He never seemed to be in a hurry. However, He was the Son of God on a very big mission. His life was saturated with people. He had family. Friends. Work, worship, and rest. What can we learn from Him about how we are to live our lives, not only successfully, but in a manner that pleases God?
The Gospels show that connecting with His Father was of utmost importance to Christ.
He spent time praying and studying the Scriptures, often during situations of concentrated ministry. He consulted God before He selected His ministry team — the twelve disciples. He prayed when carrying out assignments of His mission, including the feeding of five thousand famished people one afternoon. We observe the Lord praying as He primed for a trying time — whether in the throes of a crisis or before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. He also withdrew to pray when ministry threatened to overwhelm Him.
Spending time communing with God to revitalize Himself was elevated to the top of His priority list — perhaps even written in bright, red permanent ink. He had hidden God’s Word in His heart. Even Satan coming against Him in the wilderness didn’t stand a chance.
- Jesus reflexively quoted Scripture from memory to combat the devil and His ploys.
Is being in the presence of God — connecting through prayer and Bible study — of paramount significance to you? Does your schedule prove it? Or, are you content to check off a few quick prayer requests and do a little devo dance before busting into your day? Like waving to a high school friend in the hallway before first period, do you say, “Hey!” to Jesus in the morning but then totally ignore Him the rest of the day? I hate to admit that somedays my answer to this last question would be a big, fat yes. Sigh.
Jesus had a packed agenda while on earth, peppered with both people and purpose:
- At times His ministry involved preaching the good news to multitudes. He fed a hungry crowd or healed a woman who reached out to touch His robe amid a throng of others (Matthew 5:1–7:29; Matthew 14:13–21; Mark 5:24–35).
He had family members that included not only His parents but His four half-brothers — James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon — and his cousin John the Baptist (Matthew 13:55; Luke 1:36).
- He poured into a group of seventy-two, training them before they embarked on a harvest mission for the Kingdom (Luke 10:1–3).
- A great majority of the time, He hung out with the twelve disciples, showing them up close and personal, by His words and actions, how to live by example (Matthew 10:1–5; Mark 10:32–34).
- And the Lord even had an inner circle of those who were closest to Him: Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1–3; Mark 14:32–34; Luke 8:51–52).
Strangers cheered Him. Religious leaders criticized Him. Some even plotted to take His life.
While Jesus had numerous people in His life, He also had a plan. Through it all, He never let the people deter Him from His main assignment.
The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. — Luke 4:18–19
It fascinates me how Jesus stayed true to His mission but knew how to manage His interactions with people. He didn’t let the crowds overcome Him. He sometimes singled out individuals such as the woman at the well (John 4:1–26), the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:24–35), and the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18–23). He remained consistent in His calling and yet confident in His human interactions, knowing when to pour into others and when to withdraw to rest.
Speaking of rest, Jesus was serious about the Sabbath, although He was not legalistic. He recognized our need to follow the pattern shown in creation of laboring six days and resting on the seventh. But He did take into account emergencies that might occur on the Sabbath day. He avowed that the Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around. So, if an animal needed rescuing, or an individual needed healing, He altered His normal routine and tended to them on the day of rest.
He would not be categorized as idle or lazy. He did his work with gusto and efficiency. Just take a highlighter sometime and go through the Gospel of Mark, picking out every time you see the word immediately.
Jesus was an on-purpose Person.
He wasn’t a time waster. He was the epitome of the adage, “work smarter, not harder.” We don’t see Him allowing the expectations and wishes of others to deter Him from His mission or make Him emotionally exhausted. He toggled between work, people, and rest successfully, and in a way that pleased God.
If we want to learn to be successful with both relating to our people and setting our own schedules, we first need to tackle a topic that Jesus lived out. Scads of blog posts have been written about it; scores of sermons preached about it. But do we really understand what it means to live by it?
I’m talking about priorities.
Excerpted with permission from When Making Others Happy Is Making You Miserable by Karen Ehman, copyright Karen Ehman.
* * *
Jesus was on mission and He stayed on mission even though He took time for rest, friends, family, and even animals. He wasn’t bound by convention or stringent rules of the day; He flexed when it made sense and followed God every step of the way. Let’s look at His life and follow! Come share your thoughts on being a Jesus following and exemplifying His life. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily