The Secret Place #4 – First Things First:
“After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest… And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (Luke 10:1-2,9).
This must have been an exciting time in the lives of the disciples of Jesus. They had watched Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out devils. And now, Jesus was commissioning them to go and do the same works. I will never forget the excitement that we saw in our youth ministry at Bible Fellowship when our young people began to realize that God was calling us to do the same thing—to do the works of Jesus. After all, Jesus told us that, “he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these…” (John 14:12). However, as we press into the things of the Kingdom of God, I am reminded of a valuable lesson that the disciples learned from the Master.
“Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17-20).
The disciples were so excited about doing the works of Jesus, they returned to Him with great joy and said, “Lord, we have power over demons—this is awesome!” Jesus responded by saying, “Yes, it’s great that you have been commissioned to have power and authority over the power of the enemy. However, don’t get excited about that—that’s nothing. What’s more important is the fact that your names are written in Heaven. What’s more important than your service FOR me is your relationship WITH me.” This is a good lesson to learn. The disciples were not the only ones to be taught this valuable lesson from the Lord, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this story is found in the same chapter of Luke’s Gospel.
“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”.” (Luke 10:38-42).
Here were two women who had the privilege of having Jesus come and visit their home. While one of them—Martha—was running around distracted by all of her serving, the other one—Mary—simply sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to His word. When Martha got upset at Mary for not helping her serve, Jesus responded to Martha by saying, “First things first, Martha. The most important thing is spending time in my presence. Start there. This is the one thing that is needed.”
It’s time to put first things first, and let the most important thing be the most important thing. As Christians, before we are called to go and DO the works of Jesus, we are called to BE WITH Jesus, to sit at His feet, to be in His presence, and to grow in our relationship with Him. Set aside some time today to get alone with Jesus in the secret place of prayer, soaking in His presence.
Pastor Chris Jordan