Right Priorities

35 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. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
 (Mark 1:35-38)
19 So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, the Son can do nothing on his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does the Son does likewise … 30 I do nothing on my own initiative.”

 (John 5:19&30)
When you look at the life of Jesus, what’s remarkable is not just what he did, but what he didn’t do. Read the gospels slowly and you will notice that Jesus was forever saying ‘no’ to things. The one who had the power to heal people with a simple touch would often leave the crowds behind to go elsewhere. The one who preached God’s Word like no other would often withdraw to private places so that he could pray alone.

Think about it. Jesus barely travelled more than a hundred miles from the place where he was born. He never wrote a book. He never founded a college. He did very few of the things that we would normally associate with greatness. He was forever saying ‘no’. He had grasped the Sabbath principle – that unless we say ‘no’ to the wrong things, we will never be able to say ‘yes’ to the right things. He embraced the God-given limitations of his humanity.

When we talk about busyness, we often talk as if hard work is the problem. Perhaps we would be better off talking about ‘working on the wrong things’ rather than ‘working on the right things’. If we work seventy hours a week, we can’t work hard at being a friend or a spouse or a parent or a person after God’s own heart. We are blinded to our human limitations and to the fact that saying ‘yes’ to the right things means saying ‘no’ to the wrong things.
1)   Reading these verses from Mark 1, do you find Jesus’s response to the crowds in Capernaum a little shocking? Why do you think he said ‘no’ to going back to Simon Peter’s house and ministering to them?

2)   When did you last say ‘no’ to something for the sake of saying ‘yes’ to something greater?

3)   Jesus encourages us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). What would it mean for you, very practically, to prioritise saying ‘yes’ first and foremost to God’s Kingdom?
Father God, I recognise that you have created me with human limitations. I acknowledge that this is part of your plan to be glorified through me. It forces me to confess that you are God and I am not. Please help me to say ‘no’ to wrong things so that I am able to say a full-on ‘yes’ to the right things. I ask this for your glory in my life. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.