I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Mexico with Operation Christmas Child. I had the opportunity to visit with several local pastors and lead a team of staff members as we all got to experience the joy of thousands of children hearing the Gospel for the very first time.
Before leaving on the trip, I started to feel anxious—about traveling, about being away from my kids for almost two weeks, about being an introvert on a trip that requires a lot of extroversion—but God placed the following verses on my heart.
“Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to Him those he wanted, and they came to Him. He appointed twelve that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” – Mark 3:13-15
In these verses, I want to point out two things that stood out to me:
First, before sending the disciples to do anything, Jesus told them to simply be with Him. Anyone who has ever built something knows that the first step is establishing a solid foundation. For me, that means my first step should be making sure I am spending time with God before trying to serve others.
Isaiah 40:29-31 says, “The LORD gives strength to those who are weary. Even young people get tired, then stumble and fall. But those who trust the LORD will find new strength. They will be strong like eagles soaring upward on wings; they will walk and run without getting tired.”
Those words were written to bring hope to people who were far from home. God promised them He would lift them up, encourage them, and renew their strength. And He promises the same to us. If I can be intentional about spending time in His presence—in the morning and throughout the day—then I can serve from an overflow of what He is pouring into me, and my well will never run dry.
The second thing is that Jesus’ ministry has always been relational. In the same way that I need to spend time with Him, I also need to spend time with them. I need to value my relationships over my to-do lists.
As an introvert, I knew I could easily find myself thinking: This is a long day. This is a long conversation. This is a long time to be away from my family. This is a long trip a long way from home.
But I’ve been asking God to help me shift my perspective. Thank you for this time to meet new friends, learn new skills, and serve in this capacity. Thank you for this time to see You move and hear Your Word with fresh ears. Thank you for this time to be a part of something much bigger than myself and to witness what you are doing around the world through this ministry.
Right before I left, I prayed one of those dangerous prayers. The kind that sounds good on paper but requires a serious change.
“Lord, give me Your heart.”
As soon as I prayed it, I knew it would be a challenge for me. Because God’s heart doesn’t love Netflix more than people. God’s heart doesn’t prefer a good night’s sleep over an uncomfortable conversation. God’s heart doesn’t choose the ease of staying home when an opportunity comes up to encourage my brothers and sisters in the work that they are doing for His Kingdom.
So today, I challenge you to focus on God’s heart instead of your own. I encourage you to be intentional about getting that time with Him each day—even in the chaos—because when you start with a solid foundation in Jesus, you also leave behind a solid foundation in Jesus.