Do you feel like a hamster on a wheel, running ever so hard with nary a moment to slow down? While it is true that life has its seasons, and some are certainly more busy than others–even though filled with essential activities like earning a living and helping others–we must, nonetheless, structure our days to allow alone time with ourselves and God.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalms 90:12 )
Let’s face it: life is short–and the older we are the shorter it gets. We have probably either already achieved or long given up on the things we dreamed about as children, and what we do not allocate time for now, we may never accomplish. Yes, time is short, and what is important must be done today. Yet while we structure our priorities and organize our activities we must also schedule a time slot within each twenty-four hour period or so of sufficient physical “down time”–and not just for sleep or further activity of the recreational variety: must set aside a time each day for what some have termed “quiet time” with God.
Jesus is our example. Of all people, during the three years of His earthly ministry He was inundated with calls for His attention. Matthew records:
“Jesus went everywhere in Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the Good News about the kingdom of heaven, and healing all the people’s diseases and sicknesses. The news about Jesus spread all over Syria, and people brought all the sick to him. They were suffering from different kinds of diseases. Some were in great pain, some had demons, some were epileptics, and some were paralyzed. Jesus healed all of them. Many people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, Judea, and the land across the Jordan River followed him.” (Matthew 4:23-25 NCV)
The writers of the other Gospels mirror this account: the demands on His time were great, and it seems that Jesus was engaged in ministry from sunrise to sunset. Yet, He was also effective. How did He manage that? Yes, of course, He was “Immanuel…’God with us,'” (Matthew 1:23) but He inhabited a very human body–how did He not burn out?
Mark tell us:
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
Whether your life is busy or not, you have to schedule important activities, and time spent talking to God and hearing what He says (through the Bible, and thinking how it applies to me) tops the list. You may need to do as Jesus did and rise before sunrise to do so, or you may choose another time that works better for you, but you must DO IT. Why is that?
The reason we MUST regularly spend time with our Lord and Savior is the same as why we must spend time with any other individual we are nurturing a relationship with. Imagine being married with someone you do not spend any time with! Spending time together and relating to one another is the definition of a relationship, and any relationships that do not deteriorate.
Let me ask –DO you spend time with the most important Individual in your life–the One who made you, loved you so much He died for you, and keeps you going throughout your entire life on this earth? Can you honestly say you really KNOW Him–not just know ABOUT Him? More tellingly, do you look forward to when “…I shall know just as I also am known.” (I Corinthians 13:12)–when you will see Him and be with Him forever? Do you look forward to that moment with inexpressible anticipation and joy, or are you still afraid? “This is how love is made perfect in us: that we can be without fear on the day God judges us, because in this world we are like him. Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. It is punishment that makes a person fear, so love is not made perfect in the person who fears.” (I John 4:17-18 NCV) If you’re still afraid, you do not yet know Jesus rightly; you (like all of us) need to spend a lot more time with Him!
So, do you feel like a hamster on a wheel–never catching your breath, focusing on the urgent rather than on what is truly important? Or, can you say with the writer of the Psalms, “LORD, every morning you hear my voice. Every morning, I tell you what I need, and I wait for your answer.” (Psalms 5:3 NCV)? Determine the moments you can personally best focus on what is really important in this life, and do it. Get off the treadmill and spend time with Jesus!
Teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom! Amen.