He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach Mark 3:14 (NIV)

Jesus came to this world to show us a better way. He came to reveal God to us. He came to a world that had religion so defined, there was no joy. There were lists upon lists of things to do. Everything was about what you were doing, how you were doing it and if you were doing it well enough.

And here we are today, somehow doing the same thing.

Jesus spent an entire night in prayer before he called the disciples (Luke 6). He was talking to and listening to His Father before he made this huge decision. I am sure there was some wrestling. I wonder if there was a lot of discussion about Judas. I wonder how he prayed over each and every person that was being considered. I wonder if he discussed their strengths and weaknesses. Gosh, I would love to hear that prayer so I could learn how to pray with the heart of Jesus.

He came off the mountain and offered the invitation to these men. But notice, he didn’t invite them to hone their skills. He didn’t invite them to use their gifts or work on their weaknesses. He didn’t even gift them a task at first. Mark says “he appointed the twelve that they might be with him.”

Before he sent them to preach, they needed to be with him. Before they were to cast out demons and heal the sick, they needed to spend time with him, learning who he was….who God was. They needed to live life together to see how his Kingdom worked. They would watch him love on people, speak into their hearts, heal them and lead them to God.

It was only after that, only after experiencing who he was, that they could even think about their calling.

Each one of us has been invited. We have been invited to “be with him.” Do we have gifts to use? Yes. I know lots of gifted people. Jen is great at organizing things. Steve is amazing at orchestrating the flow of events. Roni is so creative when teaching children. There are so many people with extraordinary abilities. But that is not what Jesus wants from us first. First, he wants us to spend time with him. He wants our hearts. Nothing else matters.

When we spend time with him first, then and only then, are we able to truly live the life we are called to live. Only then will we make an impact in our world for his glory. Being a Christian is more about being than doing. Spend some time with Jesus just being. The doing will come. But when it does, it will be born from your heart, not your to do list.

–Elaine (

Written by Diane Levy


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