The Need is Not the Call
We live in a needy world. Every day we are exposed to newspapers, mailings, and other stories of those with physical and spiritual needs. In our work places, our neighborhoods and our churches we continually come into relationships with those who have needs in their lives. I have seen a number of individuals who have seemingly responded to every need of which they heard. Some have done so with the result of failed relationships in their own family. Those with whom the Lord had given the most responsibility were neglected and in some cases, lost to the Kingdom of God. How do we discern what the Lord would have us to do? Even the Lord Himself did not heal every sick person in Israel during His time physically on Earth, injustice still reigned in the land and wrongs were not righted, yet He always perfectly did the Father’s will. He had a clear sense always of what His Father would have Him to do. Fortunately for us, the scriptures are not silent regarding the reason for this in His life. It is found in the following passage in Mark 1: 29-39.
“As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
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.‘ So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.”
In this scripture passage we see that to have a priority of knowing the Father’s will, we must make time with the Father a priority. It will require a costly time, not a convenient time. It will not be the leftovers of our day, but the best of our day. It is in the unhurried time, where we have left all our concerns to Him, that we can listen to Him impress upon our hearts what He would have us to do. We can see His will for us most clearly in the prolonged light of His presence. Our failure to do this subjects us to being controlled by the needs of others rather than controlled by His call for our lives.
We can see from the example of the Lord’s life in Mark that there are three things that threatened to prevent His retreat from the world to allow time with the Father. They are the same three things that threaten our lives as well. The first of these is fatigue. Jesus had spent the previous morning in the synagogue, driven out an evil spirit and went home to have lunch with his friends, only to find out that the cook was sick! After healing her, He was soon deluged by the whole town bringing all the sick and demon-possessed to his door for healing. I have had many busy days in medical practice from early in the morning until late in the evening, but I have never had enough time to treat the whole town! (Admittedly, Jesus had an advantage here in that He was not required to fill out Medicare forms!) This was one of the busiest days recorded in His ministry. If He were ever tempted to sleep in the next day, this would have been the day.
The second threat He experienced to time with the Father was unfinished business. There were no doubt other needs in the town and community that were not addressed by Jesus the night before. This was, no doubt, part of the reason for Simon’s comment, “Everyone is looking for you.” The third, also expressed in Simon’s statement was the expectations of others. Simon and the other disciples were no doubt encouraged by the response of the town to Jesus and wanted Him to return to help others and perhaps receive more acclaim in the town. I have found in my own life that these same three things; fatigue, unfinished work, and the expectations of others may threaten my time with the Lord.
In His time with the Father, Jesus clearly distinguished the need from the call. As a result of that time, He related: “Let us go somewhere else-to the nearby villages-so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” In this statement, He revealed three questions that were answered by the Father.
“Where am I to go?” “To the nearby villages.”
“What am I to do?” “Preach there also.”
“Why?” “That is why I have come.”
Have you ever asked yourself, “Where am I to go?”, “What am I to do?”, and “Why?” I submit for your consideration that all of these questions will be answered by the Father as you spend time in His presence. As we bring these questions to Him, He will make clear to us what is His call for our lives and direct us to the needs to which he would have us respond.
In Christ, Richard Spann