Yes I mean it, don’t go on that mission trip. At least not until you read this post. In fact I’m trying to convince you to stop volunteering at that church sponsored soup kitchen. That Sunday school or Bible study you teach is not exempt either. Yes just don’t do it!!
And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. (Mark 3:13-15)
Jesus called these 12 disciples first “that they might be with him” (their training and forming), and then secondly, “that he might send them out to preach, and have authority over demons” (their ministry and witness).
“Being” with Jesus is primary. It is more important than the secondary “going” or “doing” things for him. Because it is by being with Jesus that we become like him as we are transformed in his presence. That affects who we are, and what we do, flows out of who we are.
Be with Jesus – learn from him – form your life around him – surrender your dreams, desires, ambitions, hopes and fears to him, then let him mold you. Nurture your walk with him by spending time in his presence.
And we all, with unveiled face,beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
I fear that the bane of modern ministry is a troop of people who have rushed out to preach (and do many other ministry acts for Jesus) but have not yet been with him.
When we have not been with Jesus but only minister for him, we end up serving from what the Bible calls our flesh. Our talents, gifts, and efforts become mere trays on which we serve people our selves! People whose hungry and aching hearts need to savor the glorious taste of Jesus through those efforts, gifts and talents; end up with gravel of our selves in their mouths! So NO, don’t go on that next mission trip unless you have been with Jesus!
Church search committees looking to hire a pastor, don’t just look at his résumé and the number of letters listed after his name. Don’t even base your decision on how gifted or eloquent he appears. Perhaps he is a combination of Martin Luther King Jr, Dr Phil, and Jay Leno all in one, then he knows the Bible like John MacArthur. The one question you must not fail to ask is this: Has he been with Jesus?
This is important because being with Jesus marks a man or woman;
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)
These men had been marked by their being with Jesus, such that their actions showed this quality with an “otherness” about it. Something different from what should ordinarily come from them, which these Jewish council members recognized as the result of being with Jesus!
Being with Jesus does not require that you have all your acts together and ducks in a row. It does not mean that you must be really close to perfection and averse to mistakes. I say this because someone may recognize the struggles in his or her life and think “Hey, I shouldn’t do anything for Jesus because I haven’t been with him”. In fact, being with Jesus will often provoke those struggles as he is engaged in the process of loosening up the hardened crust of self, and replacing it with the balm of his own character.
Make no mistakes about it, if God has called you, the first thing he wants is for you to be with him. So don’t go on that mission trip, until you have been with Jesus.
When others are telling you to do more…do less. The world does not need more of you, it needs more of God. Others don’t need more of you, they need more of God. You don’t need more of you, you need more of God! – Eugene H. Peterson