What does it mean to preach the gospel?

By Matt Mars

Busy. How many times have you heard someone say that word this week? How many times have you used it? It seems, at times, we us it so often it loses its meaning. To say, “I’m busy” implies that life is more full today than what is typical. Sadly, we often have seasons of life that are so demanding, we are no longer “busy” relative to the day before, but just facing yet another day of the same hectic routine.

In times like this, busy becomes the enemy to spiritual growth. Our schedules get so full that finding time to be alone with God is challenging. When we are alone with God, our minds drift quickly to tasks that await us once our devotion time comes to a close.

When busyness threatens our devotional focus, the example of Jesus in Mark 1:21-45 provides a convicting and inspirational model for us. In verses 21-45 we find Jesus teaching in the synagogue. Just as people began to be impressed with the power of His teaching, He tops that with the powerful act of casting out an unclean spirit. His powerful teaching, and subsequent miracle, propelled Him to instant celebrity status. Verse 28 notes that, “At once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.” By nightfall, word had spread to the point that many flocked to where He was staying. Verses 32-33 report, “That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door.”

Imagine what it must have looked like to have the entire town gathered at the door. Imagine the mob of people filling the lawn, and the lines of people in every direction clamoring for a moment of time with Jesus. Verses 38-44 record the healing of a leaper that increases Jesus’ fame all the more. By verse 45 we are told, “Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.”

“Fame spread everywhere”

“Whole city gathered together at the door”

“Could no longer openly enter a town”

“People coming to Him from every quarter”

Now, notice what He did in the midst of all this hectic busyness. Verse 35 says: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”

Jesus was the busiest person on the planet, yet He still made time to get alone with the Father. Jesus understood the importance of balancing the demands of His life with time alone with the Father.

Here’s the message this text has for busy people: If Jesus could carve out time in His busy schedule for time alone with the Father, should we not do the same? If we think we are too busy, or too in demand to make this a priority, we better think again. We will never be busier than Jesus. If He could do it, so can we.

Here are two takeaways from this text we need to remember in seasons of busyness:

  1. Keep things in perspective. – You aren’t busier than Jesus. You aren’t more important than Jesus. He could take a break from ministry, and things turned out just fine. This is all the more true of you and me. The world will be just fine if you slip away for a bit.
  2. It’s worth the sacrifice. – Jesus got up “very early in the morning.” He slipped away “while it was still dark.” After a long night of ministering to the entire town, he got up early, and snuck away for a few minutes to be alone with the Father. This was a sacrifice, but a sacrifice that was well worth it.

No matter how busy you are right now, don’t forgo time alone with God. You can do it. You must do it. It’s worth the sacrifice.

Published July 7, 2017

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Matt Mars

Matt Marrs is a native of Kansas City. He attended Southwest Baptist University (SBU) where he received a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry. During his time at SBU he served as youth pastor at Glendale Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo., where he met his wife Kerry. He returned to Kansas City in 1996 to attend Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) and to join the staff of Northland Baptist Church. He graduated from MBTS with a Master of Divinity degree in 2000. Matt served at Northland Baptist Church for more than 15 years, leading the church to be involved in a variety of church planting efforts. In 2011, Matt became the director of the Clay Platte Baptist Association. As the regional mobilizer for the Midwest, Matt is expanding his impact to the entire Midwestern United States area. Matt and Kerry have three children, 16-year-old twin sons, Mason and Micah and 12-year-old daughter Kalynn.