Last night I did one of my favorite things to do when i am at home: Fire up the grill and cook some perfect steaks. I am a steak lover. In fact, I’ve never met a steak that I didn’t like. Now if you know anything about beef, you realize that the different cuts of meat come from different places on the cow’s anatomy. The “Beef Round” comes from the hind legs and the rump. The “Beef Chuck” comes from the shoulder. But there is one cut of meat that is head and shoulders above the rest. It is a rare cut that is expensive and hard to come by. When you get a piece it is usually not very big, but when you eat it, its heaven on earth. It’s the filet mignon.
Our spiritual lives also have a certain anatomy that we need to understand. (I think this is especially applicable to ministers.) Our activities could be sorted into many categories. There are the carnal things, soulish things, spiritual things and so on. We have church meetings, prayer meetings, sermon study, Bible study, worship services, counseling, meetings and a litany of other things that are spiritual on varying levels. But out of every part of the anatomy of a minister’s life, there is one part that is the best; it is that one-on-one time with the Father, when there is no one else. It is that time when you are spending time with the Lord just to be with Him. You are not looking for sermon material or ministering to someone else…there is no other agenda and no ulterior motive. It is just a man with his creator; naked and open before him.
That personal time with the lord is the filet mignon. It is the most precious time of our lives. It is a priceless time in our day. Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen the “better part”. It wasn’t that Martha was doing unnecessary things; Martha was doing good things. She was eating the sirloin or the NY strip or even the rib eye, but Mary had chosen the Filet Mignon and Jesus wasn’t going to take that from her.
Preachers are especially susceptible to the temptation to substitute the good things (ministry, sermon prep, worship services, prayer meeting etc) for the best thing (Intimacy).
It is interesting that in Matt 7:23 Jesus seems to be talking to ministers when He says that they had prophesied, cast out devils, done many wonderful works etc. Yet the problem seems to be relational…they didn’t KNOW him. John says that eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son(17:3).
I was a part of the Brownsville Revival for nearly three years and I witnessed an interesting phenomenon take place in the lives of many wonderful Christians. Revival services were going on every night. Bible school was going on all day. Prayer meetings were going late into the night and early into the next morning. There simply wasn’t time for very much else. Seeing that so much time was being spent in church, many felt that “devotional” time wasn’t necessary. I saw how people who were in church, some for literally 8 hours or more per day, were drifting away from the Lord. How could this be? The answer is simple. No amount of church, Bible study, sermon prep etc can substitute for your personal relationship with Jesus.
I think the first thing necessary is to RECOGNIZE that there is a better part and separate it in our minds and hearts from everything else.
Also, we need to PRIORITIZE it making it what is most important to us and more important than everything else. It is more important than sleep, personal time, family time, entertainment, work, church, corporate prayer meetings, sermon preparation etc…It is our number one!
Third we need to MAXIMIZE it. Make the most out of that time. Turn off the cell phone and get into a quiet place. Focus all of your energy and attention on it and savor it like the prime cut of our life that it is.