July 2 I Monday
“Simon and his companions went to look for Him, and when they found Him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’” —Mark 1:36-37
After the incredible day of ministry in Capernaum, we can certainly understand the disciples’ eagerness to keep the momentum going. They felt the pressure of a crowd that was hunting for Jesus and to their credit, were moved and driven by their needs. As they anxiously searched for Jesus, the disciples were probably planning all sorts of things they could do next. Perhaps a base of operations in Capernaum would be perfect and let the ministry grow from there! But after finding Jesus and exclaiming that everyone was looking for Him, imagine their surprise when He replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so that I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (Mark 1:38).
From a human standpoint, Jesus’s response is totally counter-intuitive to what seemed the next logical step. When we see revival, it is natural to want to set up shop and serve the needs of those immediately around us. But Jesus, after spending the early morning hours communing with the Father, was given a completely different agenda. Though He could have done more good in Capernaum, God’s directive for Jesus was to go and spread the message to those who had not yet heard the Gospel.
When we take part in ministries that serve communities with many varying needs, there is the danger of developing a Messiah complex. We can get so preoccupied with wanting to be the omniscient one, knowing the needs around us and trying to accommodate them that we focus on the work of the Lord rather than the Lord of the work. We begin serving in our own strength, which inevitably burns us out, rather than letting Christ direct and fuel our activity. As well-meaning as our intentions may be, we are not to be driven by the needs of the crowd, but by the will of the Father, which comes to us from time spent on our knees in prayer.
There are warning signs that indicate we have drifted from God’s direction. Irritability can set in with a loss of joy and motivation in our service to Him. A lack of openness and honesty before God may come into play, and slowly, subtly we lose the connection that so inspired us in the first place. Being in tune with the needs of people but not with God leads to compassion fatigue, which makes intimate time spent alone with God all the more essential. Prayer establishes God’s priorities for us, and though it might rightly frustrate our own predisposed plans, when we come with a willing, obedient heart, we are divinely guided into the next area of ministry God has purposed for us.
Prayer: God in Heaven, thank You for giving me a heart for the needy, but help me to remember that my priority must always be serving where You want me.