I recently bought a washing machine designed for use with a fabric-softener ball. I don’t have one of those. So if want soft clothes I have to make an effort; intentionally stop and put the fabric softener in. There are lots of things in life like this - our spiritual lives for one.
We were designed for relationship with God. However, sin blocked this. Although through Jesus we have access once again, if we want a rich relationship with the Lord, we have to intentionally stop and put the effort in.
There are two stories from the book of Luke that speak to me of intentionality. The first is from Luke chapter 10, the famous Mary versus Martha story. It’s strange, but it seems each time I study this in the context of a group, Martha is defended wildly. It rubs people the wrong way that Mary is just sitting when Martha is doing the work. Intentionality can have a cost, and is often misunderstood. Mary stopped her activity to get more of the Savior. Martha was so busy serving him, she couldn’t see that Mary had “chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).
Those of us in ministry are often busy doing for the Savior and not stopping long enough to be with him. When we release ourselves from our obligatory service to get more of Him, He is pleased to meet us. James 4:8 and 10 invites us to, “Come near to God and he will come near to you . . . Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
Then there is Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a wealthy businessman that had a desire to see the Savior. “But because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.” (Luke 19:4-5). We all have obstacles that keep us from spending time with Him. Our busy schedules crowd our lives and we get pushed along with barely a glimpse of the Lord in our day. We need to climb our proverbial sycamore tree, get out of the hustle and bustle and put ourselves in the position to see the Savior.
Whether you’re a Mary or Martha, struggling with the needs of the ministry versus time out to be with Jesus; or a layperson crowded by circumstances, struggling to get a glimpse of Him in your day, intentionality is needed.
The Psalmist encourages us to be still and know that He is God! He is more important than anyone; He is more important than anything (Psalm 46:10). So, what’s keeping you from stopping your activity and sitting at His feet? Are you so busy doing for the one who just wants to be with you? Are you so crowded by your busyness that you can’t even see Jesus? Look around, find your sycamore tree. Position yourself to see Him; and like with Zacchaeus, He will be delighted to visit with you!
Merilyn Lauffer was an international worker with the Alliance in Israel for 16 years. After illness changed their location, she to Colorado Springs to serve in the National Office. Merilyn works part time in donor relations, but is passionate about soul care and teaches Deeper Life classes at Clayhouse Alliance Church.