Monday, May 5, 2008

Purpose versus Need

“When it was day, He went out and made His way to a deserted place. But the crowds were searching for Him. They came to Him and tried to keep Him from leaving them. But He said to them, ‘I must proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because I was sent for this purpose.’ And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.” (Luke 4:42-44 CSB)

Jesus went to Capernaum and preached in the synagogue and after that healed a man. He went home with Simon Peter and healed his mother in law. Then, crowds who heard of what He could do made their way to Simon’s house, bringing their sick and demon possessed friends and family members, and Jesus healed them on into the night. Early the next morning He went to a secluded place in the desert area outside the town to pray. When people found Him they tried to persuade Him to stay there, but Jesus simply told them He had to move on to other towns to proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom, since that was His purpose in coming.

This event in the life of Jesus points us to a very important truth: purpose trumps need. Certainly, Jesus responded to the needs of people wherever He went. He healed people and cast out demons. On occasion He even raised the dead. There was never a shortage of people with needs. But Jesus knew and said that the purpose of His coming had to take priority.

It is important that we always be in touch with what we see as the purpose of our lives. We find it all too easy to fall into a “needs-response” mode, where we respond to one need after another, only to become distracted from the main purpose of who we are and what God has called us to do. When we spend time with the Lord and seek His face, however, He keeps our purpose at the forefront and reminds us of it.

As we journey through this day, may each of us stay focused on our overarching purpose while serving the needs of others as we are able.

Lord, Thank You for showing us how to focus on purpose and still minister to needs along the way. Help us to follow Your example. Amen.

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