Let’s talk about time, our most precious commodity. In my last message, “Are You Being Careful?”, we discussed being careful when it comes to obeying God. When it comes to being a disciple of our risen Lord, if we take the calling seriously, we choose to be more careful when it comes to following Him.
This message will help you learn to be more careful.
The time we decide to spend with God, whether it be reading His Word or praying, it should never be considered “spare time”. I’m sure you know about spare time. That’s time not already allocated. The time in between meetings, maybe the time after eating and before returning to work. Maybe it’s time before going to bed.
Before I go any further, I want to make this clear. The decision to pray or read the Bible during spare time is ALWAYS a good decision, that is a precious use of any extra minutes to get caught up or to pray for a friend, or call a friend to reach out. That will keep us in touch with what really matters. What I am getting at is on a regular basis, schedule time with God, time that is not “left over”.
God desires our best
Gen 4: 3 When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, 5but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.
Why didn’t God accept Cain and his gift? I think that the difference is “Cain presented some of his crops” where “Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock” There was clearly nothing special about Cain’s gift, lackluster “some of his crops”. While Abel brought the “best”.
In the Old Testament…
Leviticus 23: 12 On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the LORD a lamb a year old without defect
And in the New Testament…
Romans 12: 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
This verse reminds me to put Him first. Not only with the “first fruits” of my wages or profit, but also with my time.
The purpose of this message is to discuss the “quiet time” or “God time” as Jesus modeled:
Luke 5: 16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
So if we strive to be like Jesus, let’s learn from this. Where do you think He got His power? And where do you think He got His direction? This is where the action happens. You can only live your life at work, or around family so long before needing to tap into the One that gives us strength and direction. When you daily decide to give Him your most precious gift, which is time, that is what leads to true change.
Never equate time with money.
This belief drastically devalues time. Try telling the life-long workaholic on his deathbed “Time is money, gotta go!” How ridiculous! This idea is one of our cultures greatest lies. Try telling a child that time is money as they wait alone for their mom and dad to come home from work. My point is that time is something we can never get back and until we understand that, life will leave us short changed. For those of you that find yourselves out of work, take this extra, most precious commodity to seek God. For you’d be much better off finding God than just another job that will consume your time. After all, if we are to work at anything:
Luke 13: 24 “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.
and to keep things in perspective:
Matthew 6: 24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
God, I really want to know you more
I could never tell you how much time you should spend alone with God. I can tell you a little about my daily time and maybe that will help. When I set out to read through the Bible on January 1, 2007, I did not have a good relationship with God at the time, but that was my desire. Along with trying to read every day, I would start with prayers such as “God, I really want to know you more”, which I still pray, and I would also pray, “God, please reveal yourself to me in your Word today.”
So for me, the Bible reading came first, along with my desire to seek Him. So my prayer life at the beginning was not much to speak of, but my reading kept me in touch with Him and eventually my prayer life began to develop. I have no set amount of time per day, but after seeking Him for a length of time, it is much easier for me to spend quality time with Him daily.
Daily quiet time doesn’t happen overnight.
Please do not compare yourself to me. But consider what you can do and pray that God will lead you in meeting with Him on a daily basis. This is where you will encounter spiritual warfare, this is the LAST thing the devil wants you to do. You’ll think of everything else you could be doing when you want to meet with God. At first, it might feel weird and you might not know what to say to God other than asking Him to take care of your current needs, which is fine. It might also feel like it is out of obligation as if you “have to do it”. But if you want to get to know Him, you do “have to”. There is no other way around it.
Have you ever had a relative or maybe a friend that at first you did not know them real well, and you didn’t know what to say and you did not feel comfortable around them? But later after hanging out with them and getting to know them better, you really enjoyed the time? God is no different. My life is a testimony that we really can get to know God personally. It used to be that I prayed most times just because I knew I needed to pray, but more recently I pray because I strongly desire to pray.
As pleaded from King David, the one who was “a man after God’s own heart”
1 Chronicles 16: 11
“Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.”
It is my prayer that you’ll take God as serious as King David did.
Will you make time for God?
“Dear God, I realize that I haven’t been spending the time with you as I probably should, please forgive me. Lead me to spend more time with you. It is my desire to get to know you more. Thank you for your Word and helping me to understand where my priorities should be. Thank you for your patience with me. In Jesus name, Amen.