I was reading one morning the text from John 6:1-15. This is the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. I came to verse 15, which says, “Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force withdrew again to a mountain by himself.” I have been in many studies where I was taught the people wanted a worldly king and that was what they were expecting from Jesus. Jesus, on the other hand came for a different reason and being a worldly king was not one of them. So like the scripture says he withdrew himself. In Matthew and Mark it says after feeding the thousands he went off by himself to pray.
As I was reflecting on this scripture I was struck by it. I asked God what I was to learn from this scripture. Why was it sticking out so much in my mind? This is what God shared with me. We get so busy in our lives we forget to discern what we are to be about. Jesus knew His purpose on this earth. It was not to be an earthly king. When the people wanted Him to become king He did what was best for Him. He withdrew from the situation and He prayed.
There are times we get phone calls from the Nomination Committee, or we get a call from the Sunday School Leader or even from the Pastor telling us we need to do this or that. Sometimes they ask, but I think sometimes they use tactics like, “God told me to call you and tell you, you’d be good at doing this.” Now I know there are times that God will speak through other people to help us discern what we are to be doing. But, I believe people think that if they put God in the middle of it the person they are asking can’t say no. The next thing we know we are so busy doing this and doing that because we believe God has called us to do all these things we become tired. We are doing so many things that we aren’t doing anything well. Like I like to say, “We are so busy doing for Christ we can’t be with Christ.” Jesus in this scripture gives us the perfect answer.
The answer for all of us is to withdraw from the scene, not make a commitment and go off by yourself and pray. That is exactly what Jesus did. Now I don’t know what Jesus prayed, but I am guessing maybe He was double checking on what exactly He was called to do. Maybe He just needed to refocus on His calling. That’s what we need to do. Ask God for a clear understanding of what we are to be doing.
This recently happened to me. I have been so busy in the past I found myself coming and going. A few years back I stopped a lot of my busyness and said enough. I am not going to do anything anymore unless God has called me to it. I was being called recently and I wasn’t sure it was a call from God. I needed to withdraw from the situation and pray. Unfortunately, God knew I needed to withdraw for a while and seek Him. So, I was blessed with shingles. While dealing with shingles God was dealing with me. Afterward realizing the call was from God I accepted the position and moved on. God knowing me knew I was still uncertain and not completely convinced it was a calling from Him. I belong to a prayer group. I shared with them some sketchy details of what I was dealing with. God in His infinite wisdom gave me a firm confirmation not from one lady in my group but from two. After receiving the second and third confirmations I was now able to accept this position.
That is what God expects from us. Before we say yes to one more job, one more position we need to withdraw and pray. If we aren’t to do this thing then we will know. Jesus knew He was not called to be King. We will know what God calls us to do if we go off and pray and not make an instant decision. I was called once to take on a position. I didn’t feel the timing was right. I called a Pastor friend and asked him. He agreed with me. He just didn’t feel the timing was right. He said if it’s what God wants you to do you will be given the opportunity to do it again at another time. So I turned the position down. A couple of years later I received an invitation to do what I had been asked to do earlier. The timing was right. I knew it was a call from God. So I accepted the position.
Instead of being so busy we need to stop and discern God’s will for our lives. Like Jesus let’s withdraw from the scene, go off and pray. If it’s what you are to do, God will let you know. If it’s not then He will let you know that too. Jesus had a purpose and it was not to be king. We have a purpose on this earth and it’s not to be so busy doing we can’t be with Christ. We are here on this earth for a reason and we can’t know that reason if we don’t withdraw and pray.
Is God calling you or is man calling you?
Dear God thank you for giving me clear direction in my life. Thank you for confirmations. The women had no idea that you were using them to confirm my calling. The next time someone calls help me to withdraw from the situation and pray. Let me be like Jesus and go off and pray. Let me stay focused on what you have called me to do. Amen.