My husband taught through Mark 4:1-20 this past Sunday. There was much truth and grace and wisdom coming from that man. If you have some time you can listen and watch here.
Mark 4 begins with Jesus teaching. Most likely he had been going non-stop for days, extending Himself beyond measure, rising while the skies were still dark to commune with the Father and then spending the remainder of His day serving those He would soon die for. Overwhelming crowds were gathering to hear this Man who performed miracles and taught with unbelievable authority.
He begins His teaching with ‘Listen…’
Pay attention. Stop everything. Focus. Be still.
There was, and is, a message to be heard. Are we listening?
Or are we too busy running in circles, never stopping long enough to simply focus in and listen?
Even in 4 short chapters of Mark we learn powerful characteristics of this Man who came to save us.
We learn that He lived with intentionality and purpose.We learn that He looked for opportunities to teach and instruct. We learn that His words were few but they were full of substance. They were thoughtful and direct and pierced through the mere surface. We learn that He was about far more than simply meeting the physical needs instead His focus was on reconciling people to their creator. (Colossians 1:20)
My heart was pierced on Sunday as I listened to these words, as I witnessed such intentionality and purpose.
Am I looking for opportunities to instruct, opportunities to point my husband, little ones, friends and family to Jesus? Am I seeking to meet only the immediate physical needs that desperately pull at young mamas or am I seeking to meet the needs of something far more weightier? As my pastor (also known as my husband) graciously reminded all of us mamas on Sunday, “Your utmost concern is their (your little ones) eternity…”
Such truth and yet we miss this. I miss this. Often in the name of busyness. Busyness as a result of chasing things that our American culture has deemed necessary to make up a great mama.
In the place of busyness Jesus tells us to ‘Listen…’ or “Be still Ashlee. Stop running in circles and sit at My feet. I want teach you about My love for you and the dangers of this world… I want to teach you how to love your husband and how to love your little ones and how to love Me…”
In Mark 4:1-20 Jesus gives a parable that relays the differing scenarios of those who hear the Gospel. Verses 18-19 say: “And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” The root of the greek word (the original language of the New Testament) “cares” means ‘divided’ or “to separate into parts, cut into pieces.” And that my friends is the definition of every busy mama in America. Divided. Cut into a million different pieces. We are not settled. We are not at peace and we have a hard time finding rest.
And God is saying to this busy heart, as long as you are divided, you will never be focused. As long as your are divided, you will never be intentional. As long as you are allowing the ‘cares of this world’ to choke you, the purpose of everyday will be marred.
My prayer is that God would settle my heart. That He would show me the root of my distractions. That He would give me the power to say no to chasing things of no real value. That I would see the things of this world for what they are, things. That He would show me how to better love my children. That He would help me to teach them about Him, His love and His grace.
My challenge to all of you busy mamas is to cut out of your life those weeds that are choking you. Stop chasing the things that America has deemed so vital to being a great mom. Our little ones do not need more soccer leagues, karate practices, pinterest-worthy birthday parties, craft projects, or even organic gourmet dinners. They need parents who intentionally look for opportunities to teach them about Jesus. They need parents who are in the Word and in prayer, daily seeking Him. They need parents who are asking for forgiveness often and showing grace even more often. They need parents who love God more than anything in this world.
What needs to be cut out? Even today. Do it, make those calls, write those emails. Choose eternity over the momentary. Let’s get back to living a life that is undivided and instead intentional and full of purpose.