In this 4 part series of posts, I’m looking at this counter-intuitive way of Jesus–slow down to accomplish more. In the first post I outlined a rhythm found in Jesus’ life and ministry that we should emulate–from Solitude, to Community, to Ministry.
Ministry – How did Jesus do ministry? He stayed connected to his father through Solitude, in Community with others, and then out of that fullness, Ministry flowed. So Jesus explained, “The Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished.” John 5:19-20
Clearly this is God’s will for your ministry too! That you would exhibit such trust and constant connection to the Father, that you stay filled up and centered, able to better discern what the Father is wanting to do in the lives of the people around you. Then as you respond to teach, to guide, to ask questions, to make phone calls, to pray, to correct, to equip…you will be astonished because it will be obvious that God’s at work bringing his kingdom will and ways to others, through you.
And I have to tell you, there’s nothing more rewarding. I’m constantly amazed as I hear story after story of God’s healing, redeeming work that’s happening through his church, here at Gateway and around the globe. Truly, people are being set free from the darkest dungeons, healed of the worst kinds of evils. We got an info card several weeks ago that said, “I’m gonna get help to stop abusing my child the way my dad abused me.” Think about the generational impact. I know of families being healed, addicts being set free, controlling people learning to let go and trust God. People are finding faith, hope, and healing through you and the communities you lead—I couldn’t even guess at how to do that kind of ministry. But I don’t have to, and neither do you. We just learn this rhythm of Solitude with God, Community with others, Ministry in response to that connection.
As we learn this rhythm, it helps in so many ways with all of life. For instance, we start to know how to find clarity in what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. I know “I’m okay because God says so—so I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. “I’m okay!” That frees me to say “no” to things I used to do to “prove something” to the world.
And if I’m confident “I’m doing the right things” because I trust God’s guidance as I submit my decisions to him–living that way empowers me to say “no” sometimes to good things, or things that I thought were necessary, but in fact are not. Sometimes Jesus said “no” to really good friends – like when James and John asked to be given the power positions—Jesus said “no” you don’t really know what you’re asking.
Sometimes Jesus said “no” to promotion because it didn’t fit his calling. “Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew” (John 6:15). “No!” How many of us would say “no” Ms. Supervisor, I can’t take the promotion and raise and bonus— it’s not in line with my God-given purpose and priorities? Luke says Jesus said “no” to really good needs.
Saying Yes To The Best
At one point, he had spent an entire day and late into that night healing people—1000s were flocking to him. It says he got up before sunrise to be alone with God. But Peter and his companions hunted him down–when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!…” Where’s your computer? Didn’t you have your cell phone on? People neeeeed you. Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (Mark 1:37-38). This is VERY important to understand—these were good people, with good, legitimate needs. But Jesus said “no” to good things in order to say “yes” to God’s purpose for him—God put you here for a purpose too, and at times you must say “no” to some good things, so you can say “yes” to the best things–those things God prepared you to do long ago (Ephesians 2:10).
When you live out of this rhythm, it’s truly life-giving, not burdensome. You see God accomplishing more through you than you could have ever done by just trying harder. But it requires a tenacity of getting in a rhythm of slowing down in Solitude first, moving into Community, then toward Ministry.
Let me hear where you’ve tasted the wisdom of these rhythms. Leave your comments below.