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Friday, November 23, 2007

About His Business

While on earth, Jesus performed many miracles to prove His divinity. He walked on water. Turned water to wine. Multiplied loaves and fish. These things were obviously supernatural and left the crowds in awe every time.

The more I grow in my faith, the more I recognize Jesus' divinity in actions that don't seem as dazzling. One in particular is His response in this passage:

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for Him, and when they found Him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for You! Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else–to the nearby villages–so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” Mark 1:35-38

In my estimation, it took some miraculous restraint to react graciously when all Jesus wanted was a few early morning moments alone with the Father. There was no "can't you see I'm praying here?" or "would you please give me just one minute alone?" Instead, His response was, "Let's go be about My Father's business".

Most of us can relate to these interruptions. Have you ever made a conscious effort to wake early for devotion only to have your children wake up earlier than ever? Ever wanted a quiet afternoon with a book only to have unexpected company? How do you react? I'll be honest with you and say I've snapped at the kids, answered the phone less than cheerily, and begrudged the intrusion into 'my time'.

Jealousy for our moments with the Father is admirable and I am in no way saying we shouldn't attempt to guard it at all costs. However, what we should not do is esteem our own comforts over those of the ones whom we exist to serve. I read something recently that shifted my thinking in accepting distraction especially when I am being taken from doing something that is only gratifying myself. For those of you who know me well, you won't be surprised to know it came from C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters. In this book, Screwtape is giving his young nephew, Wormwood, instructions on derailing a Christian in his faith. Here is what he says:

"Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion more easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him. It is the unexpected visitor (when he looked forward to a quiet evening), or the friend's talkative wife (turning up when he looked forward to a tete-a'-tete with the friend), that throw him out of gear..... They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption 'My time is my own'. Let him have the feeling that he starts his day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours."

Jesus understood His time was not His own even though it was created by Him and for Him. I can't count the number of times I have started a new day with a list of 'to do's' as long as my arm assuming each hour was to be spent at my discretion rather than God's. And then if something unexpected came up? Not pretty. When I begin viewing divine appointments for ministry as a cog in the machine, I know it's time for an attitude adjustment.

There is only one reason any of us draws breath and that is for our Father's Business. Anything else that robs our zeal for His Kingdom and His House is a diversion straight from the pit with the sole purpose of taking or eyes off the prize. Distractions will come - our job is determine whether they are Divine or Demonic. I have been challenged to evaluate the amount of time I spend in non-Kingdom activities. The simple idea that not one second in a 24-hour day belongs to me has truly allowed me to become more open to use my time to serve others instead of myself.

During this holiday season as the days become increasingly more frenzied, let's commit to laying our plans before God and allowing Him to show us how we can be about furthering His Kingdom. Ask Him to reveal opportunities for sharing the gift of His birth with someone who doesn't yet know Him.

I can't think of anything He'd love more for His birthday.

I would love for you to come visit me at my personal blog,

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Blogger Tammy said...

Great post. I know the days I have to get up early enough to have this priceless time and remember when God gently spoke to me as my youngest would hear me and get up to join me. Some days I would send him back to bed (depending on the hour) and other days, I would just pull him close to me and instead of seeing him as an interruption, I would let him be a part of my prayer time, reading the Word aloud to Him and praying outloud for God to protect His little heart and draw him to Himself. These can now be priceless times even when my kids are up and adding "background noise" to my quiet time with Jesus!
Thanks for sharing!

November 23, 2007 at 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Ouch. My toes are throbbing. This goes completely against the grain of the me-focused world we live in. How easy to believe the lie that it's all about me, especially when I've done something "spiritual" and "deserve" a break. And how many times have I worn myself out serving others, leaving nothing but exhaustion & irritability for my family. Thanks--I think!--for the convicting reminder.

November 23, 2007 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Heather@Mommymonk said...

I can't tell you how many times my "spiritual" attitude in a morning quiet time has turned into a nasty temper tantrum at kids who have awoken too early. My so called spirituality was really selfishness! Not that God doesn't want me to spend time alone with Him, but I must remember it is not MY time. It's His time and I'll let Him manage it. Very timely thoughts!

November 23, 2007 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Oh Lisa I just wrote on my blog about "Things that make me crazy" was trying to have a little bit of "ME" time and getting interupted! Oh my goodness, how selfish am I. Thank you so much for showing me that this life is not about me. I really needed this lesson today! Thanks! I Love You!!

November 23, 2007 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Chris @ Come to the Table said...

Excellent post and so timely as we are now full swing into the holiday season.

I would much rather have the Lord direct my days and plan what should be done, but too often I plow forward and become so easily irritated when "my" time is interrupted.

Thank you for the reminder and a chance to take inventory of my own intentions when it comes to "my" time or "my" agenda.

November 23, 2007 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger As We Sail... said...

Thank you Lisa. I need to be reminded that those 24 hrs are His when I thnk I can control everything.

November 24, 2007 at 1:36 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

There is only one reason any of us draws breath and that is for our Father's Business.,,,,, Oh Lisa, Amen....

I chafe at this reminder. It cuts close but I really needed to read this. Thank you my sister. You know, I believe the quote from the Screwtape Letters plays out like that. The enemy completely wants us to believe time is ours. Awesome as always. Love you my friend, Lynn

November 24, 2007 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Wonderful post.

November 25, 2007 at 3:07 AM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

Does the cat biting you during quiet time count as having a positive response, hehehe (yes that happened this morning). Seriously though, sometimes it is through the interruptions that God teaches us the most. I loved this devotional, thank you.

November 26, 2007 at 6:18 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

Amen, Lisa. Let's pray for Him to take our days and use us anyway He wants. I'm still trying to remember that He sometimes sends interruptions for a reason:-)

November 27, 2007 at 1:44 PM  

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