This Could Help Get Your New Year Off to a Great Start

As a pastor, I work on Sundays. I know some of you think that’s the only day of the week that pastors work. That would be awesome if it was true!

Too Much "To Do"
Too Much “To Do”

The fact is, being a pastor keeps me really busy. And not just on Sundays – sometimes every day of the week. I have more than enough to do as a Lead Pastor, husband, dad, grandpa, disciple of Jesus, life long learner… Well, you get the idea. And I’m guessing you can relate.

Busy is what we are. Even if we don’t have something to do, if you’re like me, you’ll invent something to do. Being productive (busy?) is wired into our western culture, especially here in the Silicon Valley where I live.

There’s always something else to do

This past Sunday I didn’t work. So Bernice and I attended a worship service at a church where a friend of ours is a pastor. When I get the rare opportunity to do that, I love it. It refreshes my body and my soul. I leave encouraged and usually challenged.

That was the case last Sunday. The concept my pastor friend focused on could be one of the biggest challenges I’ll face in the coming year. It was certainly one that Jesus confronted.

Jesus was well acquainted with busy

If you jump into the Gospel of Mark, like Pastor John did on Sunday, you can’t help but see how busy Jesus was from the outset of His ministry. Check it out just one day beginning with Mark 1:15. His life was filled with demands and opportunities, one after another, that included:

  • Preaching the Gospel in Galilee
  • Inviting Simon, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him and become fishers of men
  • Teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum
  • Casting a demon out of a man
  • Healing Simon’s mother-in-law who was sick
  • Healing an untold number of others who were sick
  • Casting demons out of an untold number of people

Talk about a busy day. There you have it. One that most of us can identify with. Need upon need. Expectation followed by expectation. Opportunity after opportunity.

It makes me tired just thinking about it

Does that sound like one of your days? Maybe not in the same ways, but you can probably understand the unending list of things to do. You finish one thing and there’s another thing waiting for you. Sometimes it makes you want to just stop and run away to a secluded beach somewhere, but you don’t… because you’re too busy to do that.

But Jesus had another plan. Here’s what he did the next morning…

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. Mark 1:35

An undistracted location and time of day

Sound like something you’d do? Intentionally get up before sunrise and pray in the midst of your busy life?

Don’t for a second think making time to pray was easy for Jesus to do. It wasn’t long before Simon and the others went out looking for Him. And once they tracked him down, this happened…

And when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Mark 1:37

Yep. Jesus potentially had another busy day in front of him. There was still plenty for him to do in and around Galilee. And it sounds to me like “everyone” was expecting something from him.

That never ending “to do” list

That list of demands and expectations you have is the product of your thinking and everyone else’s. That list can keep you busy 24/7. It never seems to go away. You cross off one thing only to find that three more things have appeared.

We need what Jesus needed. Regular time every day, in the midst of life’s busyness, for quiet prayer and reflection. A time when we can cast our burdens on the Lord. A time when we can give him our “To Do” list and receive from Him His plan for our lives.

Before we get too far into the new year, it would be good if we took a lesson from Jesus. He knew what it was like to be busy, yet he made time for refreshing, refocusing, connecting prayer with our heavenly Father. We need to do that frequently, if not daily, before the demands of life pull us away from doing what matters most to God.

by Dave Gudgel

Related Post: This Past Week I Completely Unplugged from Work and I’m Glad I Did