Recently I was interacting with a fellow Gospel-laborer named Kyle, who disciples midshipmen at the Naval Academy. Kyle and I have been friends a long time, though he's younger in ministry than me. He had a question, worth asking:
"As I mature in ministry, how can I maintain a heart that cherishes Jesus above all other competing demands?"
What a great question! Sometimes merely asking the right question is half the battle. It was an invigorating 2 hour conversation. Let me begin by telling you what we didn’t discuss. We didn’t talk about strategies to reach more midshipmen. We didn’t debate time management skills to increase effectiveness. We didn’t review cultural trends of Gen Z students.
Instead, we discussed the Lemon and Lemonade. Huh? Well, if Gospel-ministry is like Minute Maid Lemonade®, faithful ministers may run ragged getting thirst-quenching Gospel-lemonade into every mouth on the planet. They’ll strategize, scale manufacturing, build distribution centers, and hire transportation.
However, in the hustle to get Gospel-Lemonade to the world, they make the biggest mistake of all — they forget the Lemon. If I were the CEO of Minute Maid®, I would focus my primary attention on the horticulture of the Lemon… to know it so well it would infuse the perfect flavor into Gospel-Lemonade. In essence, by focusing on the Lemon, Gospel-Lemonade becomes irresistible. But to “take the Lemon for granted” produces Lemonade void of flavor. Jesus is the Lemon, and too few missionaries know him deeper than his peel — while pumping out gallons of inferior Lemonade. And a thirsty world isn’t buying it.
“Spend plenty of time with Jesus — let other things go — but don’t neglect Him.”
We need unhurried time in the Bible — to focus on the Lemon — until our heart is stirred with affection for Jesus.
Martha had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said... Jesus said, "Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:39, 42)
Like Mary seated at Jesus’ feet, doing less produces more. After all, Jesus said “I am the Vine and you are the Branches — he who remains in Me (the Lemon) and I in him bears much fruit (Gospel-Lemonade) — for apart from Me you can accomplish nothing” (John 15:5).
So, will you and I spend unhurried time today, gazing at The Lemon?