“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word”.
It is an occupational hazard of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders to neglect God. We are constantly doing work for God, and we may think that translates automatically into greater love for God. That’s not true. God has called us primarily to be lovers of God, not workers for God. We can get so busy doing the work of ministry that we neglect our own relationship with God.
The apostles in the early church did not make that mistake. They recognized that their calling was not to solve all the problems and do all the work, but to empower the entire body to do the work of ministry. Meanwhile, they would focus on their calling—prayer and the Word of God.
We have too many pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders who are marvelously gifted, but their souls are only six inches deep because they fail to prioritize time alone with the Lord above all other things. If pastors neglect God, then their ministries will lack depth and authenticity. There will be the unmistakable aroma of phoniness about them, and those pastors will eventually burn out or crash.
The first duty for the pastor is to love Jesus and seek his face. Not his hand, his face. This is true for every believer.
Jesus did this. Paul did this. The early church did this. Why would we think we don’t need this time alone with the Lord? Oswald Chambers hit the bull’s-eye: “It is impossible for a believer, no matter what his experience, to keep right with God if he will not take the trouble to spend time with God. Spend plenty of time with God; let other things go, but don’t neglect him.”