“He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” Mark 3:14-15 (NIV)
I should have been happy. I knew it. I could have listed so many things for which I was thankful.
So, what was this undercurrent of disappointment that ebbed and flowed just beneath the surface of my more honest moments? I got still, and I got sad.
I was doing a lot, pouring myself out for God, but not really spending time getting refilled by God.
Maybe you can relate?
We run at a breakneck pace to try and achieve what God wants us to slow down enough to receive.
He really does have it all worked out. The gaps filled. The needs met. The questions answered. The problems solved.
And the parts He’s purposed for us? They’re all perfectly portioned out in assignments meant for us today. No more. No less.
All He asks is that we personally receive from Him before we set out to work for Him. In doing so, we’re fueled by His power and encouraged by His presence. This is the daily sacred exchange where ministry duty turns into pure delight.
How it must break His heart when we work like we don’t believe He’s capable. We say we trust Him but then act like everything depends on us. We give all we have to the tasks at hand with only occasional leftovers of time to slightly acknowledge Him.
Imagine it’s like a little girl running while holding a cup, sloshing out all it contains. She thinks what will refill her is just ahead. So she presses on with sheer determination, clutching an empty cup.
She keeps running toward an agenda God never set, one that will never satisfy.
She sees Him and holds out her cup. But she catches only a few drops as she runs by Him because she didn’t stop long enough for her cup to be filled. Empty can’t be tempered with mere drops.
The tragic truth is what will fill her … what will fill us … isn’t the accomplishment just ahead.
That shiny thing is actually a vacuum that sucks us dry — but never has the ability to refill.
I should know, because that’s where I was. There’s no kind of empty quite like this empty — where your hands are full, but inside you’re nothing but an exhausted shell. I knew it would take slow moments to get me out of this empty place.
I needed to reconnect with the One who knows how to breathe life back into depleted and dead places. Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life like abiding, delighting and dwelling — all words used to describe us being with Him.
As a matter of fact, when Jesus appointed the disciples, there were two parts to their calling, as we see in our key verse, Mark 3:14-15: “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.”
Yes, they were to go to preach and drive out demons, but the first part of their calling was simply to “be with him.”
True fulfillment comes when we remember to be with Him before going out to serve Him.
He wants our hearts in alignment with Him before our hands set about doing today’s assignment for Him.
So, He extends what we need and each day He invites us to receive in prayer, worship and truth from His Word. And He lovingly replenishes our cup while whispering: “This isn’t a race to test the fastest pace. I just want you to persevere on the path I have marked out especially for you. Fix your eyes, not on a worldly prize, but on staying in love with Me.”
That’s an agenda that’s always completely satisfying.
Dear Lord, I’m choosing to stop in the midst of everything to just be with You. Let me never forget what a gift it is to spend this sacred time in Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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