Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Daily Devotional Time - Part Three

A Daily Devotional Time – Part Three
By Judy Vandiver
©copyright 2009

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35 NIV)

The last two days, we’ve looked at the verse above as an example regarding a daily quiet time with God. Like Jesus, we are encouraged to find a time and place where we can be alone with our Heavenly Father. Christ chose a time that probably wasn’t convenient and He left the crowded house to find a spot as free from distractions as possible.

But even for Him, interruptions were inevitable. The next two verses state: “Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!’” (Mark 1:36-37 NIV) The scene reminds me of the one I told you about two days ago when Dad locked himself in his pick-up truck just so he could eat in peace and quiet. Sometimes there is just no getting away from the crowds.

Your crowd may be a crowd of ten or a crowd of one. Your crowd may be the telephone, the doorbell, or the ticking of the clock. Nevertheless, our “crowds” push and shove their way into our devotional times. They look for us, find us, and abduct us.

I’d like us to look at the words used in that verse. The NIV translates two forms of the word look and one of the verb find. The first time the word look is used, they “went to look for him,” the verb is used much like our common use of the word today. The Greek word used here was katadioko which means to hunt down or search for. And when John Mark reports that they “found” him, the word he used was heurisko which means to find or to see something.

But of interest to me was the second use of the word look in the NIV translation. The Greek word John Mark used was eukairōs which translates into our English today for opportunity or when the opportunity occurs. Therefore a more precise translation of the latter part of verse 37 would be, “All want an opportunity with you.”

I searched to find other places where eukairōs occurs in the scripture. John Mark uses it again a few chapters later in Mark 14:11. Judas Iscariot had just gone to the chief priests to betray Jesus. The chief priests promised to give Judas money so “he watched for an opportunity,” to hand Jesus over. The word used for opportunity here is eukairōs. One translation used the word convenient for opportunity. We’ll discuss that in a moment.

Another place where this word was used was in 2 Timothy 4:2. Paul writes, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” The word eukairōs has been translated here as “in season,” meaning at every opportunity.

Therefore we can easily see that when someone seeks an opportunity they could be seeking it to gratify self or for their own convenience. Or they may be looking for an opportunity to promote the gospel. So which was it with those who sought Jesus that early morning when He tried to have solitude with His Father?

I believe they were seeking an opportunity for self. They didn’t yet know of the Gospel. They didn’t know Christ had come to save them from their sins. They only wanted the immediate benefits they could receive from Jesus.

Many of our interrupters will not have our best interest at heart. Many of them will be seeking what is convenient for them. But interruptions are a part of life. What did Christ do when the crowd sought and found Him? He got up and moved on with the job the Father had given Him. “This is why I have come,” He said.

Seek your solitary and quiet time with the Lord, but when the world seeks and interrupts you, remember to go about doing the task the Father has for you. You may have to tell the world to wait, or you may have to do as Jesus did this particular morning—move on to the task at hand.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at what a devotional time is and is not. See you then.

©copyright 2009 Judy Vandiver

Personal Bible Study:

1. What are some usual interruptions into my quiet time with the Lord?
2. Are these legitimate interruptions or are there things I can do to eliminate them?
3. What can I do to make my devotional time as distraction-free as possible?
4. Jesus knew what His purpose was for being on Earth and made that His priority. Do I know what my purpose on Earth is?
5. Memorize Mark 1:38: “Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages —so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (NIV)