Pray and Serve

Luke 4:42-44 

When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them.  

But He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.’ So He kept on preaching in the synagogues.  

I like reading this verse; When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place… 

I enjoy quiet time in the morning. I lean toward the introvert-side of the social and interpersonal equation. In the morning I always prefer do what Jesus did in this passage: go to a secluded place and be alone. 

Give me my Bible and books. Give me my computer to write the output of my learning and insights. No personal interaction please. Just me, God, my Bible, my books and a computer. Ahhhhh, what bliss! 



Can you imagine how burned out Jesus must’ve been this morning? The previous afternoon and into the evening, all the people of the surrounding areas were pushing and shoving to see Him; talk to Him; be healed by Him. They brought every kind of physical ailment, illness, pain and oppression. They had a myriad of physical and spiritual issues, big and small.  

On this special day of healing, no insurance card or co-pay was needed for Doctor Jesus to do His magical work.  


Laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them. Luke 4:40b 


Oh, and one more thing: can you also imagine the various personalities He encountered during that healing service? Some were patient and others were pushy. Some came quietly and others wanted to talk and talk and talk. Some wanted to explain every detail of their ailment; where it originated, how long they’ve had it, what it felt like, what it prevented them from doing, and every matter related to their lives. 

Was there pushing and shoving? I wonder if anyone cut in line? Did someone call them out? Did any arguments break out?

I’m sorry to say, but serving needy people can be seriously annoying. 


Dietary Conditions 

Recently, Leigh and I walked into a restaurant in downtown Houston. Right outside the door was a homeless man who asked if we’d buy him a meal. He was about the 5th homeless person we had encountered on our trip to the restaurant.  As is my usual response, (I walk around downtown a lot so this happens to me almost daily), I said no. He looked quite annoyed. 

We ordered our meal and I began to feel convicted. It irritated me that I was feeling convicted. I say no all the time.

What is different this time?

I couldn’t explain it to myself. Why am I allowing this conviction to spoil my dinner? Every homeless person in Houston knows that if they go to the Star of Hope and work their program with a certain level of resolve to turn their lives around, they will always have meals. 

The conviction didn’t subside. I hate it when that happens.  

So, I went outside and told the soured-faced homeless man I would buy him a meal. Without changing his facial expression, he said, ‘I’m a vegetarian. No meat please.’ A little stunned, I said, ‘OK’. As I turned to go into the restaurant, he said, ‘can I get a large Coke too?’ 

Yes, I was a little surprised at the conditions surrounding my offer to buy him dinner. Yes, I bought him a vegetarian meal and a large Coke. He ate a good meal that night with no negative effects of meat. But doesn’t he realize that those large Cokes will kill him? 


Fill Me Up 

When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place… ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.’ 

There are two simple lessons that jump off the pages of scripture in this section: 1) get alone with God and allow the Spirit of God to fill you up so that 2) you can go out and do the work God has called you to do. 


  • Get alone with God, so that you can… 
  • Go out into the world and serve 
  • Repeat 


Do the work of an introvert (get alone with God) and do the work of an extrovert (be with people and serve). One may come easier to you than the other. But both are good. And both are needed to sustain ourselves in the calling of God upon our lives. 


  • Be alone with God daily 
  • Serve others daily; encourage others, bless others. Somehow and in some way, serve others daily 


Father, we are often weak. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to be still before You. We are so busy. Sometimes, it’s hard to focus on the needs of others when we have so many needs ourselves. We are too weak to do these things; but You are strong.  

We don’t bring noble gifts of self-righteousness. We bring You our weaknesses. But by faith, we know that You will show Your power through our weaknesses. May you do so, even today. Help us today to be alone with You and to bless the life of at least one person today. For Your glory, Amen.