The teachers and Pharisees lived under the specific and rigorous physical standards of the old covenant. Sometimes we read this and scoff at the nit-picking exactness of those people, but Jesus was not scoffing. He told them that they should have done what the covenant demanded of them.
God has called us so we can come to know him (John 17:3). It is possible to be so busy with God’s work that we neglect to come to know him. Luke tells us that when Jesus visited the home of Martha and Mary that “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” (Luke 10:40). There was nothing wrong with what Martha was doing, but Mary chose to do the most important thing – to spend time with Jesus, to get to know him and to listen to him.
Fellowship with God
Some time ago I was talking with a Christian about prayer-walking. The individual explained that this activity combined fellowship, prayer and exercise – and that this kind of prayer-walking had revolutionized his prayer life. When he talked about prayer-walking he did not mean parading his righteousness in front of others or making his views known to others by some kind of political demonstration. He was simply spending time with God by taking walks – either in his immediate neighborhood or in the beauty of natural outdoor surroundings – and praying as he walked.
When we make fellowship with God a priority, all of the urgent issues in our lives seem to fall into place. When we focus on God he helps us understand the priorities of everything else. Jesus told us to seek the kingdom first, and that all of the other things in life would be taken care of (Matthew 6:33). We can all become so busy with activities that we neglect 1) to spend time with God alone, in prayer, and 2) to meet with others in fellowship with God. If you are stressed out, burning the proverbial candle at both ends, and you don’t know how to accomplish all of the things you have to do in life, perhaps you should consider your spiritual diet.
Our spiritual diet
Jesus responded, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33). After they asked Jesus to give them that bread, he declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).