Jesus knew exactly what that felt like. The moment He entered ministry and performed His first healing, people came. They came from all over and they brought their friends, their family and anyone else they could find along the way. They came to see what the talk was all about. They came to hear what this man was saying. Mostly, they came because they were sick and diseased, demon-possessed or paralyzed (Matthew 4:24) and wanted Jesus to heal them.
When you think of a crowd, what happens to you? Do you tighten up and feel the pressure of so many people? Do you get stressed and even mad about having to bump around, and/or wait, in the midst of so many people? Or, do you like crowds? To some, a crowd is exciting. At a concert, an event of any kind, in church on Sunday morning, you certainly want a crowd of people? Don’t you?
Here’s what I love that God has shown me…"the crowd", no matter what was pushing them to crowd around, did not deter Jesus from two things:
- Time with the Father
Jesus never got overwhelmed, deterred, distracted or put off by the needs of the crowd. While they were pressing in, He continued to walk on. It wasn’t until someone pulled away from the crowd and approached Him that it is noted He was “Moved to compassion,” (Mark 1:41). Jesus was not impressed with the crowd, with an audience of 1000’s. What moved Him was the one who believed in Him enough to pull away from the crowd, out of the noise, to approach Him boldly and beg for healing (Mark 1:40).
Jesus was obedient to heal who God brought to Him. The crowds came, but God only had plans for Jesus to tend to a few.
Are you trying to take care of every need? Are you running around endlessly overwhelmed, stressed, trying to get it all done in a day but never completing that to do list that you create? STOP! In the midst of 'the crowd”, in the middle of all the chaos, what is God asking you to do? Who is God bringing to you for a touch or a word of encouragement? We will remain exhausted trying to save a world God never assigned to us. Instead, sit before your Father and ask Him to direct your way each day. Then obey.
TIME WITH THE FATHER
It is amazing how often the importance of having time with the Father is preached, taught, talked about, emphasized…and yet I hear more often than not, “I just can’t find time!” Breaks my heart every single time. Here’s the deal, you will never, EVER have time you want, become free from trouble and you will always exhausted if you do not make time alone with the One who knows it all a priority. Period! It’s not complicated. We make time for what we want to make time for. The issue is not that we do not have time, the issue is that we do not want to make the time. It’s a hard truth but a very necessary one to point out.
Do you notice in the scriptures how often Jesus is walking away from crowds? Often! Jesus was not impressed with crowds, regardless of the reason they were gathering and pressing in on Him. Not only did Jesus continuously leave a crowd to spend time in prayer with His Father, He went into isolated places (Mark 1:35) and the wilderness (Luke 5:16). That overwhelmed my heart in such a good way! I saw, for the first time, that Jesus didn’t make a schedule to have a certain time with God, it was often in the middle of doing ministry, or right after healing someone, with thousands still in line to be next, that Jesus just got up and walked away to be with His Father. Not because He didn’t care, but because God must have made it clear to Him that for now, His work was done and it’s time to come and be replenished in Me.
Mercy! How often do we determine to press through the people who are in need, to press through until our to do list is done and miss the whisper of our Father, “Come away with Me now, I have something important to say?”
Glorious Jesus! This has rocked my world and is undoing the way I I do life! It might take a minute to stop this reckless train I've set loose from going 100 miles an hour, but I have pressed down on the brakes and I am on my way to a full blown stop!
There is nothing more in the world that God wants than to spend time with us! He wants to pour into to us so that when we do get up and go out, He is pouring out through us. To me, the worse thing I can do is present myself to someone in need with what I have, when instead I can present myself to my Father and let Him pour Himself out through me. It’s not me someone needs, it’s Jesus!
These two points were not put in any special order. I almost feel like they continuously feed one another; the more I spend time with the Father, the more I am willing to obey and the more I obey, the more time I will want to spend with the Father. What I do know is that in order to truly experience the living God in and through my life, I need to withdraw "to the wilderness for prayer” (Luke 5:16). He eagerly waits for us every moment of the day. Don’t miss out on what He has for you, it is so much more than you could ever ask or imagine!
LORD! Help me sit still until this reckless train comes to a full stop. Then draw me out into the wilderness and isolated places to pray so that I may be filled with your power and glory and love, so that I can go out into the world and let you pour Yourself out to all those in need!