Have you heard of Howard Hendricks? He is a super wise Bible teacher, probably in my top 5 favorite teachers. He said one time, "You will never be able to sustain a ministry to people if you are always with people." Oh so true! As missionaries, our "job" is never done. But really, neither is a mom's, a teachers, a business professionals etc. There is always one more thing to do. That's why we need to have our No muscles in shape. Someone once said (oh I wish I could remember who), it's a good practice to say No to something everyday. Because really aren't the good things so often the enemy of the best. And if we can't say no to the meaningless, how will we ever be able to say no to the good?
I love how good Jesus was at this. He said No even to time with people, time ministering to them, in order to have more time with the Father, or in order to have more quality time with His disciples. He was so good (perfect really, being God) at having ahead of time grace. He saw what was to come and He prepared. Like Mark 2, when He had His disciples get Him a boat so He wouldn't have people shoving Him. How smart!
"Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him." Mark 2:7-9
Judea to Idumea was about 100 miles from each other. The driving distance of about 1.5 hours. How long must that have taken to walk!? Can you imagine!? What determination it must have taken to walk all that way just to be with Jesus. Wow. That's convicting huh. People give so much to be with Jesus, yet we can meet with Him whenever we want and other silly, dare I say worthless things rob us of our pursuit.
Did you know there are pastors in Haiti who walk 11 hours in 1 day to get seminary training. And they do that every week! Here's a pretty cool story of how some of these pastors use to be voodoo priests.
And I love the next verses, "Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach..." 2:13-14 When we do pursue Jesus with determination the natural outflow is being sent by Him with a mission. Jesus called the disciples to Him, to a relationship of walking with Him and then the result of following Him was to be sent out by Him. Shouldn't we expect the same?
1. How are you at saying No to the good so you can say Yes to the best?
2. Do you know your needs and letting other people know so they can help you? Do you make provision for yourself to be able to minister to others in a healthy way?
3. Are you living as a sent one? How?
Oh Lord, we truly are desperate for You. We can't do anything in our own effort, but only by the strength and ability You provide. Would you help us pursue you with determination like the people who lived in Idumea and the pastors living in Haiti.
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And PS I'm heading to allume, a super awesome blogging conference next Thursday. I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store. Are you going? Maybe we can meet up. :)
Faith Filled Friday Blog Hop Link UP
W e exist to glorify God, to display His heart and character. And I just love how we are all uniquely built to do that. So every Friday I want to give you, uniquely designed by God, an opportunity to link up your thoughts on God, art, baking, photography, parenting, marriage, homeschooling, writing or blogging and more if they tie into or display the the Lord somehow.
So go ahead and link up below by clicking the link below and following the prompts. Please just let your readers know by including a link at the bottom of your post (or somewhere on your side bar) or put my button code (found on my side bar or the Faith Filled Friday Tab) so they can find these other great people glorifying God and we can continue to grow as a community.Thanks!
And in effort to encourage others in their writing by faith, please take a minute to comment on the two posts linked up before you.
It's good that you brought this up, Laura. I'd like to share the practice of our Church ever since it was founded 30 plus years ago. In the pastoral/fasting houses scattered all over the country (and even abroad), the workers praise and worship the Lord for 8 hours beginning from 6AM to 2PM. After the closing prayers and Bible reading, that would only be the time that they would break their fast and prepare to go wherever they are called or needed: visit and pray for the sick, jail ministry, Bible studies, etc. Then they would meet again at 6PM to praise and worship, and pray (except for those who are assigned elsewhere).
I'm much better at saying "No" than I once was.
Oh so true... No time with the Heavenly Father is like an empty tank of gas -- You are not going anyway! I think this is one reason why many get burned out -- They don't take that time to be with the Father, to spend time at His feet... Bless You for a wonderful post with a powerful reminder to "seek ye first, the Kingdom of God..." Have a blessed and fun day :)
10/19/2012 02:10:23 am
Beautiful, Laura! Our pastor always used to say that the good so often keeps us from God's best. Thanks for the reminder to say "No" more, and for hosting. God bless!
Laura- Thanks for this timely reminder...I have been saying no this fall by observing a extended sabbatical...40 days of waiting on and listening for Jesus' mission as I enter a new season of life...I was wondering if Jesus ever said no...thanks for showing us examples of his boundaries...I sometimes think I have to say yes to everything...but when I do that I am not really following Jesus. I am following my own need to be needed and thought well of...saying no is hard work, but beneficial to all involved in the long run...that way we can say yes to what really matters.
10/19/2012 04:43:11 am
Such powerful wisdom here. I am new to your blog, but saw your faith-filled friday link & thought that was interesting.
I'm not very good at saying "no" I've always been afraid of making someone mad at me. But lately I've come to the conclusion if they are mad cause I had to say no, then they probably weren't a real friend to begin with. I'm stretching my "no" muscle, never know when I might use it:)
10/19/2012 01:19:21 pm
Great post, Laura. This is something I need to get better at doing. I love your statement: "Because really aren't the good things so often the enemy of the best." So true! Thanks for your insight.
10/19/2012 03:49:40 pm
Yes Laura, sometimes we need to get away from people - - and spend time with our Father God in order for our ministry to flurish!
10/21/2012 07:13:52 am
I HAVE heard of Howard Hendricks. He was one of my "spiritual mentors" as a young Christian when I read several of his books, including those on parenting. Thank you for a lovely reminder.
10/27/2012 02:45:54 pm
I wish I could have gone to Allume...and had the joy of meeting you. :-/
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