Overcoming Setbacks and an Overwhelming To Do List

Have you noticed that today people are eating more on the go than ever before? No time for breakfast? There are breakfast bars for that. No time to pack a lunch? You can grab a quick bite at the nearest fast-food drive-thru. I find myself grabbing something quick to snack on while I run my errands if I have a lot to do. When I do eat on-the-go, I scarf it down--not giving much thought to what I'm eating so I don't weary with hunger before my errands are done. 

There have been times in my life, when my feeding from the Word of God did not look much different. On especially busy days, I'd inhale my Bible reading for the day, because in the back of my mind I was thinking, "Oh Lord, I have so much to do today!" Though I desired to linger in His word, in no hurry to do anything else like Mary when she sat at the feet of Jesus and listened, because I had so much to do, I tended to have a Martha mindset,  fixated on what needed to be done. 

However, I realized nothing on my To Do List was more important than spending time in God's Word and prayer.  I needed to overcome that Martha mindset that says, "I have so much to do today. I don't have the luxury of just sitting at Jesus' feet." (Luke 10:40) Just as Jesus said, "Martha, Martha. You are worried about many things, but only one thing is needed."  (Luke 10:41) In the same way, the Lord pointed me to Luke 5:1-11, to show me that like Mary, if I made time with Him a priority, I would be blessed.  (Luke 10:39, 42) Since studying this passage, the Lord has delivered me from that Martha mindset and showed that I can sit at His feet like Mary, and be at total peace despite what my "To-Do List" looks like that day. It is so freeing!
As you may recall in Luke 5, when Jesus is calling His chosen disciples, Jesus is standing by the Lake of Gennesaret (aka. The Sea of Galilee) when people start crowding all around Him wanting to hear Him teach. Nearby, commercial fishermen Peter and Andrew, are cleaning their nets in the water after having had worked hard all night long trying to catch fish, but to no avail. No doubt feelings of frustration and distress consumed them as they as they cleaned their nets and considered how they were ever going to recover from such a huge setback. 

 After all, their fishing wasn’t a mere hobby. It was how they made a living. As they mulled over their dilemma, Jesus approaches them and asks Peter to pull his fishing boat out so Jesus could teach from it.  Any other day, loaning his boat to Jesus wouldn’t seem like such a sacrifice, but today it would be. Peter wasn’t simply loaning his boat to Jesus. He was loaning himself and his time to Jesus since Jesus has asked Peter to bring his boat out into the water and pull out a little from shore. (Luke 5:3)

 Though Peter and Andrew graciously accommodated Jesus, I wonder if in the back of their mind, Peter and Andrew lamented, “Haven’t caught anything all night, we are so behind in our work!" Regardless, Peter and Andrew obeyed, esteeming time to serve Jesus and learn from Him greater than dealing with their overwhelming circumstances. 

 Jesus knew Peter needed his boat to fish and that His borrowing it probably set Peter and Andrew back in their work-- especially since they had nothing to show for their grueling all-nighter the night before. So after He had finished teaching, Jesus directs Peter, “Put out in deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” (Luke 5:4) Not sure what to expect, Peter obeys because he knew obeying Jesus is always the right thing to do. (Always a good reason for doing anything God tells us to do in His Word.) 

To Peter and Andrew’s great surprise, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break forcing them to call over their other fishing co-workers James and John to help, who were in another boat nearby. As it turns out, both boats were so full with fish that they started sinking! Despite this, with the Lord’s help they were able to make it safely to shore.

Look at how frustrating Peter and Andrew’s day, or night that is, was when it was spent apart from the Lord. Likewise, notice how incredibly blessed and successful their day was when they made time with Jesus their highest priority. Though they spent a good portion of the day with Jesus, their time with Jesus didn’t hold them back one bit from accomplishing the pressing task before them. Instead, what would have taken days to accomplish was made possible in a matter of minutes! (Luke 5:5-6) 

Is there anything discouraging you today that is distracting you from spending quality time with Jesus? Be encouraged, Jesus will always make the time you spend with Him always worth your while! (Phil. 4:19) You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. 

So how do you make time with Jesus when you already have a busy day ahead of you? Here's how I When I wake up in the morning, I like to start my day in prayer, thanking God for the sleep I got, praising Him for His goodness and faithfulness, and covering my day and my loved ones in prayer. Then I love getting into the Word by listening to the NKJV dramatic audio Bible: The Word of Promise,  as I get ready for the day. Then I like to write a Bible verse on a 3x5 card to carry with me through my day that I want to reflect on throughout my day. Right now I am reflecting on and working to memorize Jeremiah 17:5-8. I started reflecting on verse 5, thinking upon it, the message it's communicating, and then saying  that one verse over and over throughout my day, until I can say the verse confidently without looking. 

I also love listening to Bible teachings as I clean my house or run errands. These are just a few simple ways I've found to spend time with Jesus throughout my busy days. Regardless of what season of life your are in, I hope that little snapshot of what I do sparks some ideas that you can use in your own life.  When we spend intentional time with Jesus, even in little pockets of time throughout our day, we are sure to leave strengthened and refreshed as we go about our day. 

Question for you: How do you make time with Jesus a priority when you already have so much to do that day? 
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Last updated Friday March 6, 2020


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