Scripture: Mark 14:32 CEB
“Jesus and his disciples came to a place called Gethsemane. Jesus said to them, “Sit here while I pray.”
Have you ever watched a 2-year-old in a restaurant, at the mall, in the grocery store, or anywhere? They have a hard time sitting. No, not sitting in general. At two they are physically capable of sitting pretty well; which is what makes the following statement more frustrating for parents. What they are not very good at is sitting still. A 2-year-old tends to get distracted and is more interested in other things. They get fidgety and have a lot of energy to get out of their system. This is why you can hear grownups anytime they are around kids say something like, “Oh, to have their energy.” All of this seems to be a very well-documented truism about 2-year-olds. Yet, adults don’t seem to learn—do we? We insist that these little human beings must sit still. If they do not, we get upset at them and even punish them. However, the universal truth seems to prevail—2-year-old kids can’t stay still for very long. It’s a skill they just are not good at.
If we are honest, there are a lot of adults who are not very good at sitting still. Yes, we are able to stay in one place for a while. We do so at the movies, plays, business meetings, concerts, church, and many other settings. But adults are restless, too. We like to be on the move. We like experiencing new things. We can get bored. We are easily distracted. Some people like these things more than others, but most adults aren’t as good at sitting still as they would like to think. We may sit in one place for a while, but are we focused on one thing? Are we truly resting when we sit? Do we spend time watching a show, surfing the internet, reading a book, or checking our social media accounts? Most of us spend time keeping busy. Most of us are not very good at sitting still—especially in our spirit. This is what Jesus calls his disciples, and us, to do. Jesus asked them to “sit here while I pray.”
The disciples stayed in one place, but they did not sit still in terms of focusing on what Jesus was asking of them. Each time Jesus returned to them they were asleep. To be certain, this was sitting still. Jesus was not asking them to sleep. Jesus had asked them to sit there while he prayed. He wanted for the disciples to stay alert with him. Jesus would do the praying. He wanted them to sit there and stay alert. Perhaps they would say a prayer as they felt led to do so. He really wanted them to stay alert to what was going on. This was an incredibly important time in Jesus’ life and ministry. Those who were closest to him should be awake and alert to capture the moment. At that moment, this was the most important thing they were being asked to do—sit here—be present. As we strive to follow Jesus and center our lives on loving God and loving neighbor—we need to be present. This may mean the most important thing we are asked to do is “sit here.” Sit here in this board meeting and open yourself to the Spirit leading you. Sit here at the dinner table and be truly present with your family. Sit here in this marriage loving your spouse selflessly in committed, covenant relationship. Sit here in the restaurant asking the server if there is anything you can pray for her about. Sit here means to be completely present and available to Jesus.
Choose to be present today! Start your day sitting at the feet of Jesus. There is no better place to start. Wherever Jesus takes you today—sit here. Be present with and for Jesus and the people you encounter. You will not be sorry you did so. In fact, you will most likely be amazed what happens when you simply choose to be present.
Prayer: God, use me today. I am yours. I will be present and open to the movement of the Holy Spirit today. Put me where you want, with whom you want, and doing exactly what you want to your glory. In the name of Jesus. Amen.