Service in the ministry is one of the most rewarding things that anyone could ever undertake. There is nothing like the experience of being led by God and given a plan and purpose by God and watching Him unfold it in your life. Every day is a blessing and every challenge ends-up being a new testimony of His love and power. However there are many serving in ministry, missions and church today, that are not experiencing what I have just described. Instead, they are finding stress, difficulty and frustration. Obviously this is not God’s intention.
The same thing can be said for non-ministers as well, regardless of vocation or title, nothing can be successfully accomplished apart from the supply of Jesus. Notice that I said “successfully accomplished.” So today we will be examining the supply of Jesus that He gives to us for our benefit, how to receive it and how to apply it in our lives.
Before we can have any meaningful study on the supply of Jesus, we must first answer the question of how do we receive His supply? How does it come? There are many places in the Bile that define this supply, but two of the most clearly defined are found in Psalms 5:1-3 and Joshua 1:8, so let’s examine Psalms 5:1-3:
“Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.
Listen to the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for to you will I pray.
My voice shall you hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer to you, and will look up.”
Now there has been a lot of discussion regarding what time is best to spend time with God, and the easy answer is any time is good – which is true. Having said that, there is something important about the morning. Notice in verse 3 that David says that in the morning his prayer is given and heard, and in the morning he will look up.
We know from Psalms 55:17 that God hears us whenever we call, so the focus of Psalms 5:3 is not the fact that God hears as much as it is on the fact that in the morning David “looks up”, which is reference to looking up in expectation of God answering – David is expecting to receive from God.
All throughout the Bible we see repeated references to the provision of God being made in the morning. From the Manna which God provided and was gathered in the morning, to Jesus Himself praying early in the morning in Mark 1:35, and people came to hear Jesus in the morning as well, in Luke 21:37-38.
There is a principle for us to learn in these examples, and it is actually quite practical, and that is: gathering provision in the morning for the rest of that day. It’s interesting to note something about the Divinely Supplied Manna from Heaven… and that is in Exodus 16:21, we find that once the sun began beating on the manna, it melted and was no longer able to be gathered. My friends, I have experienced it in my own life where I was neglectful of gathering the provision of Jesus on certain days and when I went back to gather it later it had likewise “melted”, the provision was no longer there.
Sometimes we neglect the provision which God wants to give us every day thinking that we can get around to it some time later, but that does a great disservice to the benefit and value of His provision.
You see my friends, we assume (in error) that we can actually get by without His provision to begin with, and we utterly can not. When we stop to actually consider that our heart continues to beat by His provision, our lungs draw breath by His provision and we even woke up this morning by His provision, we begin to realize that all that we are is continually held-together by Him (Colossians 1:16-17).
Let’s consider the account of Jesus at the house of Martha and Mary, in Luke 10:38-42:
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
But Martha was encumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
And Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things:
But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
We see in verse 40, that Martha was encumbered with much serving. And complained to Jesus about it. She accomplishes quite a feat here: with one single question she manages to cast blame on both Jesus and her sister Mary… Martha says “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to serve?” and then she tells the Lord how to handle the problem by instructing Him to tell Mary to help serve.
You see, when we wrap up our identity in ourselves and our service we become very foolish and selfish, and we end up doing exactly what Martha did here: we get defensive and prideful.
In verses 41 and 42, we see that Jesus never rebuked her for her service. It is not wrong to serve. However Jesus corrected her because of the wrong spirit and method by which she was serving. We see clearly that Jesus told Martha that she is troubled by many things, but only one thing is needful. And what exactly is this one needful thing? Jesus says that Mary has chosen what was good and not to be taken from her. Look now at verse 39 to see what it was that Mary was doing… She sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word.
I love how the Bible is so descriptive. Remember my friends that nothing is in the Bible by accident, there is no insignificant detail. We see that she sat at His feet, which was a gesture of humility, giving Jesus the place of honor and attention. Recognizing that He was the important one, He was the center of focus. We also see that she heard His Word. She did not merely sit at His feet for appearances sake. She didn’t sit at His feet because it was the cool thing to do at that time and He was popular so she could be part of the in-crowd. No – she sat at Jesus’ feet because she genuinely wanted to hear His Word. His life-giving, all-powerful divine, saving word. Jesus calls that “the good part which will not be taken from her.”
And look at the result of Mary taking the time to humble herself, sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His Word. We read in Mark 14:3-9 that she had the unique honor of anointing Jesus for burial. An act with singular distinction that Jesus said will never be forgotten:
“And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she broke the box, and poured it on his head.
And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?
For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble you her? she has worked a good work on me.
For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you will you may do them good: but me you have not always.
She has done what she could: she is come beforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
Truly I say to you, Wherever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”
The lesson from this is that if our focus is ministry and serving, it will lead to stress, being full of cares and trouble the same as Martha, and missing God’s best. However if we prioritize Jesus and take the time to humble ourselves, sit at His feet and hear His Word, the result will be great service that truly honors Christ and will be remembered well.
In closing today, I want to show you one more verse of scripture which illustrates this point both for ministers and non-ministers alike. Please turn now to 1st Peter 4:11:
“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
The one foundation upon which everything stands is Christ Jesus. Today we have preachers who speak things other than the oracles (utterances, words) of God. Today we have ministers serving out of self-effort instead of the ability of God. The result is people promoting themselves and spreading false-doctrines that destroy souls and lead people to hell.
So I encourage you today. Don’t get so caught-up in service that you miss the Savior. Choose the good part that will never be taken away. Take time to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His Word, and you will be empowered for effortless service that will never be forgotten.