(Part 2 of 5 – Based on the message by Stovall Weems at ARC’s All-Access 2013 Conference)
Pause everything for just a moment and ask yourself this: What is your biggest goal – your greatest dream? Maybe it is to pastor a church of 50,000. Or maybe it is to write cutting-edge children’s books. Or maybe to reach 1 million souls for Christ. Certainly all of those are great goals.
Take a closer look at the request James and John made of Jesus in Mark 10:35. Their goal was one that should supersede all the other goals in our lives – above all ministry goals, above all personal goals, above everything. It is the goal of being seated with Christ where there is unbroken fellowship with him.
The picture of what James and John are asking for has a special significance in Jewish culture. They ask to be seated with Jesus. When he is on his throne, they want to be seated on thrones next to him. That scene is what is described in the meaning of the Hebrew word SHABBAT – where we get the word Sabbath. It describes a king sitting on his throne with all power, all authority, in control, at rest, and at peace. This is the picture James and John were painting in their request, and it is what Ephesians 2:6-7 describes – being seated with Jesus, resting in His power, His authority, His dominion, and his control.
There are three principles of Shabbat (or Sabbath) that I want to unpack for you. First is the goal of unbroken fellowship with Christ. This is a lifestyle of resting in the finished work of Jesus. We can get so good at going, reaching, standing, fighting, walking. But we need to get good at being seated. We do well at planting, pioneering, seeing mountains moved, establishing the Kingdom of God on earth. But in all of this, we must remember to do some sitting or we will wear ourselves out and be of no use to God.
We hear sayings like, “Pray like it all depends on God, but work like it all depends on you.” Think about that. If you’re telling me that I am supposed to work as though the whole church, the souls of our city, everything all depends on me, I’ll be in a mental hospital. It’s too much. But how about this? “Pray like it all depends on God, and then be the best steward that you possibly can be with your gifts, resources, energy, and health.”
There is nothing spiritual about misusing and abusing your God-given gifts and talents and your family. My prayer for all of us in this next season is that we learn to live well. Many can preach well, build well, minister well, and lead well. But we need to live well.
Maybe you’re one who is thinking, “But the time is short. I just need to meet as many needs as I can.” Where do we get the idea that we have to meet as many needs as we see? Have you ever noticed how many needs Jesus did not meet? He would be preaching in a town and they’d bring out all their sick, the lame, those dying of disease, desperate, just hoping for a touch. And Jesus would say, “You know, I’m sorry but I’ve got to leave. I’m called to other towns. I’ve got to go.” They’re looking at him with tears in their eyes, desperate for healing, and the Son of God walked away. Why did he do that? Because Jesus’ ultimate goal was unbroken fellowship with His Father, not how many needs he could meet.
See, God keeps the books. He knows how to meet needs. He knows how to reach people. He knows how to build churches. Our job is to steward what He has given us so that we are ready to do what He calls us to do as part of His plan for reaching people.