An Agenda That Will Never Satisfy
"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.
Then I would see something horrific on the news that other people are facing, and I felt so horribly guilty for even daring to give myself permission to entertain anything other than gratitude.
Which just heaped shame on top of my sadness. So I’d reach for a handful of something chocolate. And I’d wash it down with a Diet Coke and determine that maybe all this off-kilterness was just because I was running a little low on sugar and caffeine.
But the real answer was something I already knew but didn’t want to admit.
I was doing many things, 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 setting out to work for Him. In doing so we are 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 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 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 He 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 to be filled up. 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.
Since my fast pace chase had gotten me into this mess, I knew it would take slow moments to get me out of it.
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 today’s key verse of 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 to "be with him."
Fullness 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 invites us each day 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.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 15:5, "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing." (NLT)
Hebrews 12:1b-2a, "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." (NIV)
Do you ever feel like it's hard to hear God’s voice above all the chaotic noise competing for your heart’s attention? The struggles. The worries. The hurts and betrayals. The heartbreak that keeps your mind racing into the late hours of the night. Discover how you can hear the Lord speaking intimately to your heart as you draw near to Him daily with Lysa TerKeurst’s newest release, Embraced: 100 Devotions to Know God Is Holding You Close. You can order your copy here today.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Every day, God invites us to abide, delight and dwell in Him. When you hear these words, what comes to mind?
How could you delight yourself in the Lord today?
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