“And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach” (Mark 3:14)
When Jesus appointed His 12 Apostles in Mark 3, the Bible says He had two specific purposes in mind: 1) “so that they would be with Him”, and 2) “that He could send them out to preach.” The order of these two purposes is surely not accidental, and has something important to say to us:
The first purpose Jesus had in mind for His disciples was NOT what one might expect: that they go out to preach. His first purpose was that they might simply “be with Him.” This clues us in to God’s most important purpose for us as well. Our first priority is not just “going out to minister”, but rather, like the Apostles, to “be with Him.”
This relates to God’s ultimate purpose for us. He made us to know Him and be satisfied in our fellowship with Him. Jesus said in John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” Our sin separated us from the fellowship God designed us to have with Him, which is why Jesus came to die on the cross, to pay for our sins, and to restore the relationship with God to everyone who would trust Him as Lord & Savior.
As a result, our first priority is like that of the Apostles: to “be with Him.” We are to spend purposeful time with God every day in worship, singing to Him, praying to Him, and listening to His Spirit’s voice through His word. It is the most important thing we can do. It is what God designed us for.
God’s priorities have not changed since Bible times. His greatest purpose for your life is not some “task” in ministry, but like the Apostles, to first “be with Him.” Everything else you are and do should proceed from that.