November 11, 2003
Encouragement for Today
Jesus replies, “let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach ere also. That is why I have come.” Mark 1:38
In the previous devotional, I compared the oil of the Holy Spirit in a mother’s life to the oil in the lamp of a lighthouse. Sometimes it is easy for a mom to give so much to others, she ends up running on empty when it comes to her own family.
What are some common oil depleters among mothers? Here are a few: volunteering at school, helping in the community, counseling needy friends, taking care of other people’s children, teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir for all three services, cooking meals for everyone who has a baby in your church, working on the missions committee, chairing the PTA, leading a neighborhood Bible study, being on the decorations committee for the school homecoming, making costumes for all the animals in the school play, being a scout mother; den mother; and room mother; (all at the same time), taking care of aging parents, hosting supper club once a month…… Are you tired yet? I get tired just thinking about it.
These activities are very noble and worthy causes, but we must realize that we can not do it all. Something will suffer. Our oil will run out. When it does, we know who will suffer the most, first ourselves, then our families. We must resist the tendency to be ruled by the tyranny of the urgent. We must learn how to say “no” without guilt.
Jesus provides a good example of how to set priorities and get refueled in Mark 1:35. “And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there.” Jesus kept His oil refilled by meeting with God first thing in the morning and getting alone to pray. It is also when He set His priorities for the day.
Verse 36 goes on to say: “Simon and his companions hunted for Him, and they found Him, and said to Him, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’ And he said to them, ‘Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, in order that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for.”
Jesus had just conducted a healing service the night before, and the people in Capernaum wanted more. Was it a noble cause for Him to return and continue to minister? Yes it was. But Jesus had set His priorities. He came to spread the gospel and that’s what He continued to do. He was not distracted by the tyranny of the urgent, but focused on the will of God. And because He had spent time with God, He had new oil in His lamp and knew exactly where He was to shine.
Spending time with the Lord each day will help keep our priorities in order as well as fuel the light to keep our beacons burning brightly in our homes. We can ask Him to show us with fresh eyes what we should do. When we do, He guides our paths and instructs us in the way we should go (Psalms 32:8). He guides us in daily decisions. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21)
What priority do your children have in your life? Most of us would readily say they are right there at the top. But is that what our calendars say? Where your treasure is (your time) there will your heart be also. The word priority means “to prefer.” Let’s make sure we prefer our children.
When I was a teenager, I used to sing this little chorus that went “Give me oil for my lamp, keep me burning, burning, burning. Give me oil for my lamp I pray. Give me oil for my lamp, keep me burning, burning, burning. Keep me burning ‘til the break of day.” That song has taken on new meaning as I have become a beacon who desires to never let her lamp run dry.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, help me to be a wise steward of the time you have given me. Give me the wisdom to know when and where to serve and when and where to say no. God, help me to always keep my family as top priority in my life, not just in word, but in deed as well. Amen
Re-evaluate all your activities and see if there are any oil depleters in your life.
Go back and read Mark 1:35-40. Are you surprised that Jesus turned down a ministry opportunity?
How do you think Jesus knew when to say yes and when to say no? John 5:19
What were some oil depleters to the early disciples? Acts 6:1-4
How did they solve the problem?
How do we begin to eliminate oil depleters? James 1:5
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (NIV)
Isaiah 50:4-5 “He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back.” (NIV)
Psalms 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. (NIV)
Isaiah 30:21 “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” (NIV)
Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman
Who Holds the Key to your Heart by Lysa Terkeurst
Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids by Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Tuesday, 11 November 2003.