Bible Readings: Mark 1:35-39
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!" Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else, to the nearby villages, so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." So he travelled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)
With the demands of his office, former US President Eisenhower developed the principle of differentiating between the important and the urgent, leaning to focus on the things that were important to his goals and those that are essentially distractions.
This is not a new problem. Our reading today follows directly on from a day which started with Jesus teaching and healing in the synagogue, continued with him healing Simon Peter’s mother-in-law and ending with him healing many in the crowds that gathered round him in the evening. After such a day, instead of having a well-earned lie-in, Jesus is up early to pray. This would not be a ‘shopping list’ prayer, but a ‘waiting in God’s presence’ prayer, bringing to his Father the activities of the previous day and seeking his guidance for the day ahead. Into this time of reflection come Simon and his companions saying, ‘Everyone is looking for you’.
It would have been easy for Jesus to get distracted by other people’s demands or to be swayed by the acclaim of the crowds and a desire to be popular. But Jesus was not swayed by either. Instead he sets off to the nearby villages to preach there also, stating, ‘That is why I have come’.
Have you found a time and place where you can be quiet with your heavenly Father, to reflect with him on the previous day and the day to come?
What are the things that you think God might think are important in your life at the moment? What would it take for you to be able to say with Jesus, ‘That is why I have come’?
What are the things that distract you? How might you set aside the urgent so that you can focus on the important?
Father God, in all the busyness of my life, help me to find that quiet place where I might hear your voice and know your priorities for my life.
To be in your presence