I posted recently about a Fanning the Flame CD our team spent time hearing. The topic was “protecting the pastor’s time” and it focused on how the pastor must be allowed time to pray and study because (get this, it’s important): his preaching must flow out of his devotional life. If your pastor is not speaking with and listening to God, his preaching may be great public speaking, but it won’t be the Word that God wants you and your church family to hear right now.
The next thing that came to my mind is this: all of us need to protect our times of prayer and study because: the ministry we undertake must flow out of our devotional life. Just like the pastor, if we are not taking time to listen to God and follow his leading, we may do a million “good” things that are not the task God has in mind for us, right here and right now.
It’s easy to get distracted. It’s easy to give in to putting out fires and taking care of what seems urgent, instead of what’s truly important. There are times when we need to step in, but often we create our own “emergencies” because we enjoy feeling needed and indispensable. Maybe we even enjoy being the martyr who has to do it all because nobody else seems interested. This isn’t just a modern day problem. Remember what Jesus told Martha?
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
Mary was taking the time to listen to the Lord; Martha was following her own agenda. Letting our ministry flow out of our devotional life takes patience and discipline. Sometimes it will require waiting for the Lord’s timing; sometimes it will make us uncomfortable; but it can be done. Help when you can, but don’t forget to make time for “the good portion.”