by Nancy Taylor Tate
“And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake…. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.”Luke 5:1-4
In this passage of Scripture the people were pressing upon the Lord to hear the word of God. In response, Jesus moved out a little from where they were standing, then sat down and taught them. Afterwards, He told Simon to go out even deeper.
Each of us in various ways, find ourselves pressing, or being pressed, to accomplish one purpose or another. The most important question we could consider is, are we “pressing” toward that which has eternal value, or toward those things that will pass away? Are we being faithful in those things the Lord has called us to, or are we busy with other things?
The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13-15:
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you.”
Somehow, we all become very “busy.” As a result there are many things that hinder our devotional time with the Lord. We must reject these and determinedly press through them in order to have some quiet time with the Lord.
The Lord notices and responds whenever we rise above all these “things” to seek Him. In Luke 5, as the people pressed to hear Him speak, Jesus entered into one of the ships, pushed out a little from the shore, then sat down and taught them.
The “shore” relates to our everyday activities. Jesus pushed beyond the shore to teach principles relating to a deeper walk and relationship with Him. He then told Simon to “Launch out into the deep.” The depth to which He will take us is contingent upon the desire of our heart.
As we open our hearts to the Lord and continue to press towards Him, the Lord is faithful. We may have to press through much busyness. Or we may be pressing through difficult circumstances. Regardless, the Lord sees those who are faithfully pressing towards Him out of a hunger to know Him more. These He will sit down and teach, sowing the seed of the kingdom deep within their hearts.
In Luke 5, Jesus sat down in the boat then taught the people who stood, intently listening. Matthew chapter 13 tells us what He said. He dealt with attitudes and thoughts within their own hearts, and ours too, that would be a hindrance to the growth and development of the word of the kingdom which was being sown deep within their hearts.
The more time we spend in the Lord’s presence, the deeper the seed will go, and the stronger the roots will become to withstand the storms of life. Spiritual understanding, discernment, and submission to the ways of the Lord will develop within our spirits then be worked out into our everyday lives.
As the Lord calls us to launch out into the deep and we respond, our natural and spiritual lives will begin to function in harmony. As we hunger after more of the Lord a progressive working of the Lord takes place in each of our lives. The Lord seeks to do a “new thing” in each of us. This will be seen only when the fruit of the seed that has been planted within us has been faithfully cared for, that it might develop into full maturity.
There is always more available in God. The apostle Paul said he did not feel he had apprehended everything that the Lord had for him. But, he was reaching for, and pressing toward, as he ran straight toward the goal, the prize of the upward call of God, the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
He then admonished those desiring maturity that they too should be “thus minded.” Paul said that if we had this poise of spirit, that if in anything we were otherwise minded, the Lord would show it to us.
I have expressed this desire to the Lord, that He would show me, if in any of my actions, I am “otherwise minded” than what I am confessing to the Lord. And the Lord answers! Sometime ago, I noticed that I was checking my emails first thing each morning. Often there were messages resulting in a busyness that cut into the time that I had set aside to be alone with the Lord. My time would be gone, and I would have to begin my day without personal communion alone with the Lord.
The Lord showed me I was saying one thing, but doing another. I said I was putting Him first. I said He was the priority of my life. It was why I had set my alarm early, to have that time alone with Him! Yet I was allowing other things to push into that time and take the time that had been set aside for Him.
How often we do this and do not even realize it! Yet if our heart is truly toward the Lord, He will surely show us if “in anything we be otherwise minded” that our experience might match our confession.
Busyness! It will never go away. It is a part of modern day life. But within that we have choices that we can make. As we prioritize, cutting away that which is not needful, and rightly ordering that which is, the Lord who sees our hearts will help us in all that needs to be done.
For years I had a quote by Walter Beuttler sitting in front of my desk. “Give the Lord priority, and He will give priority to you.”
Our part is simply to be faithful in putting Him first.
He will do the rest.