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Jesus and “a purpose harder than steel”

Series: Redeeming Your Time
Devotional: 4 of 7
Published: October 4, 2021

Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come. (Mark 1:38)

When you study the gospel biographies trying to understand how Jesus stewarded his time, one glaring truth jumps off the pages: Jesus was crazy purposeful. In the words of the great Dorothy Sayers, “Under all his gentleness there is a purpose harder than steel.” Nobody in Jerusalem had more things competing for their attention, and yet Jesus always seemed to be able to discern the essential from the noise.

No passage of Scripture illustrates this better than Mark 1:29-38. After driving out some evil spirits at the synagogue, Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law and a bunch of her neighbors. Understandably, the town’s residents wanted more of Jesus the next day. But Jesus said no. Why? Because he had already committed his time to a bigger yes. In response to the people’s request for more of his time, Jesus said, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (Mark 1:38, emphasis mine).

Jesus understood his purpose and that allowed him to take the long list of things he could do and prioritize it down to the things he knew he should do to “finish the work the Father gave him to do” (John 17:4). And with his work prioritized, Jesus focused relentlessly.

Pastor Kevin DeYoung says that, “Jesus knew the difference between urgent and important. He understood that all the good things he could do were not necessarily the things he ought to do….If Jesus had to live with human limitations, we’d be foolish to think we don’t. The people on this planet who end up doing nothing are those who never realized they couldn’t do everything.”

Man, that’s good. Yet again, Jesus’s example leads us to a timeless principle for redeeming our time today. Here it is:

Principle #4
PRIORITIZE YOUR YESES
To redeem our time in the model of our Redeemer, we must decide what matters most and allow those choices to prioritize our commitments.

But let’s face it: This is easier said than done. We all have so many things on our to-do lists. How do we decide what matters most?

In my book, Redeeming Your Time, I share six practices to help you answer that question and model Jesus’s purposefulness. In this video, I share a glimpse at one of those practices, breaking down how bigger goals can help prioritize our yeses and the 5 reasons why Christians ought to set the most epic goals in the world. Watch here.

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