What’s the first thing you’re going to do after the shelter-at-home ends? As South Africa's strict lockdown enters its fifth week, I find myself thinking more and more about things I want to do.
The first two verses of Colossians 3 tell us that since we’re no longer who we used to be, we must set our hearts and minds on things above. And what I do is one of those things "below" that my heart and mind get distracted by—I can be preoccupied by my occupation.
An awkward visit
Note that Jesus didn’t say not to do the work: he said not to be preoccupied with it. When we’re worried and upset and distracted with our work, we’ve forgotten the point, or the purpose. In Martha’s case, the point was to honor her guest. But honor is empty when relationship is neglected.
Relationship comes first, and work must be motivated by relationship.
Don't forget the point!
In Revelation 2, Jesus addresses a church in Ephesus with a very similar struggle. He commends their amazing work, their values, and their perseverance. But they've forgotten the point: they're all about their work and have forgotten their first love. Jesus instructs them to repent and return to “the former things”.
It’s easy for me to get lost in the things in my calendar and forget my “One Thing”.
Like Martha, I find myself preoccupied with the details and missing intimate times at Jesus’ feet. Or like the church in Ephesus, I'm busy with all the good work and perseverance, but neglecting my relationship with Him—my first love.
When Jesus called his disciples, he gave each of them the same calling: “Follow me.” We are called first to relationship, not to tasks, work, or some office.
So, what do I want to do when the lockdown is over? I want to follow Jesus, more focused than ever before. I want to remain focused on him as my One Thing, my First Love.
I don't want my heart to wander away from him, lost in the weeds of my calendar or task list.
Some helpful tools
They say there's an app for everything. While we can't ask our smartphones to take care of our devotion to Christ for us, there are some tools that can help us with our personal pursuit of him.