My friend was asked to be the speaker for the teen week of summer camp, and the Lord powerfully used him. That’s why I was surprised when I looked at the camp brochure for the next summer and he was not scheduled. To me, when the Lord is powerfully working and people are responding, these are signals that the Lord wants you to settle in and stay in place. But as we continue to track the true story about Jesus’ Galilean ministry, we discover that sometimes it’s time to get up and move on even when the crowds are still coming.
In Capernaum, the town on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee that became Jesus’ home base, the entire town was bringing their sick and those demonized by the evil one to Jesus’ door. Yesterday we saw how the Lord healed many. When Peter and Andrew and James and John woke up the next morning, they expected another full day of ministry in their Capernaum, but Jesus was not in the house so they went out to find him.
“Now rising up early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, went outside, and found an isolated place. There he was praying. And Simon and those with him hunted him down. When they found him, they said, ‘Everyone is seeking you!’ And he said, ‘Let’s go on to the next towns so that I might proclaim there. This is why I’ve come.’” Mark 1:35-38
How did Jesus know when it was time to move on and minister in other places? He got up early, got alone with his Father, and talked things over. When it comes to knowing when it’s time to move on, my wife, Mary, has been way ahead of me. I like to get settled, especially when the response is strong and growing. That’s why I need more alone time with the Lord outside, away from the noise and the crowd. It’s the only chance I have of hearing the Father’s instructions so that I keep on moving to where he wants me to serve.
My pastor friend didn’t speak the next summer at camp, and it wasn’t because he wasn’t asked. It was because he had taken on the awesome responsibility of pastoring a large church—a task that demanded all of his focus and energy. He knew there were younger men who would effectively connect at the camp, and he threw the door wide open for them to exercise their gifts.
LORD, as I grow older it gets tougher to get up early like you did. Help me to be diligent in not letting down on spending quality time alone with you away from all the distractions so that I can hear your voice and track the assignments you want me to take on.
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