Dying 2 Live...!

Dying 2 Live...!

Monday, February 13, 2012

1-Hour Before Counting Sheep

When individuals who are new to the Christian faith attend church services that are evangelistic in nature (mostly preaching salvation messages), they become overwhelmed as it relates to growth (Spiritual formation & Christian disciplines). However, when individuals who are new to the Christian faith attend church services that are growth-related in nature, they become overwhelmed as it relates to evangelism.

Some note this delimma as being a Q&Q (quality & quantity issue). As it relates to evangelism and church disciplines combined, many Christian leaders stress quality over quantity. But in certain aspects, this is not always the case. Like for prayer and fasting, it's all about quality. But for the tithe (giving) and souls (salvation), quantity becomes the rule-of-thumb to follow after.

So what is it? Is it all about quaility? Or should our concern be solely focused on quantity?

Well, a proper balance between both of them should be the healthy solution. And it can be clearly summed up in the concept: "1-hour before counting sheep."

"Mark, have you losted it? What kind of concept is that? What does counting sheep have to do with a proper balance?" Actually, they matter more than you know! It's all spelled out in Matthew 26:36-46.

After revealing to His followers the sacrificial elements of His death, Jesus informed His disciples that He would be betrayed and die. This vital information must have went over their heads because they didn't understand His urgency. So He then took Peter, James and John away with Him and told them bluntly what He was feeling. He was looking for their support!

36) Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37) And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38) Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

Unfortunately, they didn't get it. Not to mention, they were exhausted from all the endeavors of that day and were more concerned with handling this matter in the morning, after a good night of sleep. They could of thought, "He's just praying. He always comes here to pray while in this particular city."

Jesus went on ahead and prayed, even without their support, this famous prayer:

39) He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

But we need to pay close attention to what happened next!

40) Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, What! Could you not watch with Me ONE HOUR? 41) Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

In the remaining 5 verses, Jesus repeated this process two more times and was then betrayed by Judas. Now, we may ask, "What was up with the disciples? Also, what was up with Jesus' harsh rebuke? And what was even up with the repetition of the prayer?"

The interesting thing that was up with all of that was a proper balance between quality and quantity. Note, it wasn't quality over quantity or vice versa. Jesus wanted the quality of their support at a daunting time, along with the quantity of having it for a full and explosively powerful hour. The disciples could have showed quantity and stayed awake, giving little to no supporting prayer interest into Jesus' ordeal. Or worse, they could've done what they actually did: They gave some minutes (possibly even upto 30 or so) of explosively fervent prayer support, eventually fading off at the end into counting sheep as they slept soundly. No, both were needed (quality & quantity)!

Jesus didn't just want their maximum TIME, but He wanted their maximum EFFORT as well!
Let's learn from their lesson and allow the willingness of our spirit to do the leading, not our flesh. I assure you; it'll make a world of difference!   

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