Here in Russia, summer is soon to be gone, and in about a month most of the leaves will be gone from the trees. Snow will begin to fall sometime in the next few weeks, and as I return from my 120th trip to the former Soviet Union, I will be returning to an always-full schedule.
In my life, fall always seems to be one of the busiest times of the year. The momentum and movement of ministry from September to Christmas is packed full of high energy, intense ministry meetings and moments with never enough time to take time off.
My heart was deeply moved by the Russian believers during my first few trips to the former Soviet Union because of their hunger for a move of God to impact their nation. The Russian pastors believe in the power of prayer, the power of the name of Jesus, the power of the blood of Jesus, the power of the Word of the Living God, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
You may be thinking to your self, That sounds pretty basic, and of course, you are right. Yet the basics are the key for enduring spiritual leadership around the world. Making time to sit at the feet of Jesus is the common denominator. It sounds easy, but as we all know, it's not. For those of us in ministry, the challenge with implementing this high calling is simply the very fact that we are in ministry. Ministry is just so demanding and so all consuming.
In Luke 10: 38-42 we see a familiar scenario along these lines:
"As they went, He entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came to Him and said, 'Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Then tell her to help me.' Jesus answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed. And Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her.'"
This week, let me ask a straightforward question: Are you so busy doing the work of ministry that you don't have time for Jesus?
In the business of this season, I know that I can easily become a Martha—stressed out and overwhelmed in my service to the Master. The reason for this is simple: I forget to be with Him. In so doing, I forfeit Mary's joy due to the distraction of Martha's zeal.
Even with the convenience of the modern world, there never seems to be enough time in the day to be with the One who created today and every other day for His glory.
I believe the Lord is calling us to the good portion again. We need to come to Him with a heart like Mary—hungry for time in His presence.
Ministry can be taken from us. A pulpit can be removed. A sphere of influence can diminish. People are fickle and change their minds about us, but spending time with Jesus will always produce fruit, and this fruit will never be taken from us.
The secret to eternal significance is found in this passage—moments listening to the Master like Mary.
What I have learned is that the best way to live in peace is to stay close to God! Be intentional to take time out of your day to seek Him. Keep His Word in your heart constantly! As we listen at the feet of Jesus, ministry becomes a joy again and the pressure of performance is removed.
Nothing else in life matters as much as our relationship with God. It is much better to spend time with God than it is to go through life in our own strength.
Take time today to spend with God! Never get too busy for Him!
Mikel French has challenged spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with the book of hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide soul-winning celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor's conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia's 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Rebecca Moore contributed to this article.