Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve….[The next day, upon] reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. (Mark 11:11,15)
The life of Jesus and his disciples was busy (see Mark 3:20-21 and John 11:5-9). But as my friend John Mark Comer has pointed out, “[Jesus] never came off hurried.” Pastor Kevin DeYoung put it this way: “[Jesus] was busy, but never in a way that made him frantic, anxious, irritable, proud, envious, or distracted by lesser things.”
So, what’s the difference between busyness and hurry?
Busyness is having a lot of meetings on your calendar. Hurry is scheduling those meetings back-to-back forcing you to sprint from one to the...
Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28)
In the mid-1800s, Americans fled to the West in droves in search of gold and a better life. But according to The Emigrant’s Guide to California published in 1849, it was the gold-rushers who rested most—specifically by observing the Sabbath—that reached their destination the quickest. As the guide shares, “Those who [laid] by on the Sabbath, resting themselves and their teams,” reached gold country “20 days sooner than those who traveled seven days a week.”
The gold rushers’ example illustrates a fascinating paradox: Oftentimes rest is the most productive thing we can do.
And not just Sabbath rest! As the scientific community now understands, bi-hourly breaks throughout the workday and an eight-hour “sleep opportunity” every night are...
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)
Now more than ever, our world offers the illusion that we can be fully present in more than one place at a time. But it’s just that—an illusion. You know how I know? Because we’re not God and even when God himself came to earth in human form, he traded in his godly omnipresence for the human unipresence you and I experience today.
Like us today, Jesus had to deal with frequent distractions that competed for his attention. A man threw himself at Jesus’s feet as he was walking (see Mark...
Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come. (Mark 1:38)
When you study the gospel biographies trying to understand how Jesus stewarded his time, one glaring truth jumps off the pages: Jesus was crazy purposeful. In the words of the great Dorothy Sayers, “Under all his gentleness there is a purpose harder than steel.” Nobody in Jerusalem had more things competing for their attention, and yet Jesus always seemed to be able to discern the essential from the noise.
No passage of Scripture illustrates this better than Mark 1:29-38. After driving out some evil spirits at the synagogue, Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law and a bunch of her neighbors. Understandably, the town’s residents wanted more of Jesus the next day. But Jesus said no. Why? Because he had already committed his time to a bigger yes. In response to the people’s request for more of his time, Jesus said, “Let...
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)
Now more than ever, we are living in what C.S. Lewis’s devil Screwtape called “the Kingdom of Noise.” And I’m not just referring to the obvious increase in external noise created by nonstop news, entertainment, and the buzzing of the devices in our pockets and purses. I’m primarily referring to what all that external noise creates—namely internal noise that blocks our ability to be silent and reflective.
Our lack of solitude stands in stark contrast to the way of Jesus. The number of times the gospels mention Jesus withdrawing to “a solitary place” is staggering. In the third gospel alone, Luke mentions Jesus’s love of “lonely places” three times in just one and a half chapters (see Luke 4:42, 5:15,...
“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)
Why is it that the worst songs are some of the hardest to get out of our heads? Is it because they’re uniquely catchy? That might be part of it. But there’s actually a scientific answer to this question.
Dr. Roy Baumeister explains that if you “listen to a randomly chosen song and shut it off halfway through…the song is likely to run through your mind at odd intervals. If you get to the end of the song, the mind checks it off, so to speak. If you stop it in the middle, however, the mind treats the song as unfinished business….And that’s why this kind of ear worm is so often an awful tune rather than a pleasant one. We’re more likely to turn off the bad one in midsong, so it’s the one that returns to haunt us.”
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. (Mark 1:35)
“I’m swamped.” I’ve said it, you’ve said it, we’ve all said it at one overwhelmed point or another.
The Bible tells us that Jesus’s disciples were once “swamped” in a different way. As they sailed across the Sea of Galilee “a squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger” (Luke 8:23). You know the rest of the story: Jesus “got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm” (Luke 8:24).
This passage perfectly illustrates the core premise of this devotional series—namely that the solution to the disciples being swamped by the wind and waves is the exact same solution to our being swamped by our to-do lists and hurried schedules. The solution is found in...