Our whole culture, here in the west, seems to be about cramming ever more and more into the limited time we have. We possess more and more ‘things’, but one thing we do not seem to be able to increase is the time we have available to us. 24 hours in the west in the same as 24 hours anywhere else.
The labour-saving devices indeed lived up to their name – they saved us labour. But, in the process, they cost us time. When we had to take the time to do the labour, we also had more time for family, friends, relationships, God – the fundamentals of life!
Now, we have all that time saved up – but it’s not put into the former things, rather it seems to be taken up with the myrad other demands that have appeared to fill in the vacuum (pun not really intended, :-).
Funny thing is, when I read the gospels, it seems as if Jesus was very well aquainted with our dilemma. He was very much in demand, with countless good causes presenting themselves to Him. He also only had 24 hours in the day.
What I find instructive is His response. He didn’t run around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to meet all the needs (and wants) of other people. He didn’t perform His duty with stoic heroism, sacrificing every moment for the sake of others.
No, he often withdrew to a lonely place, there to commune with God. What a scandalous waste of time! Surely, being God and all, this was superfluous? Only no, I don’t think it was. Rather, it was essential to Him. I think Jesus, while knowing He was fully God, was also aware that He was fully man, and hence at that moment limited by both space and time. Hence it became essential to constantly stay connected to God. How else was He going to walk in step with His Father?
If that was the case for Jesus, then how can it be any other way for us? Taking that time, finding that lonely place, where we can commune with God should not be an option for us in our time-pressured age. It must also be essential. Not essential because God demands His pound of flesh from us whatever our circumstance, but precisely because of those circumstances, we must spend time alone with Him, for our souls health.
Otherwise, we will find ourselves walking our own path, rather than walking with our Father God. And our own path only leads to pain and death.
So, let me encourage you (and me) to intentionally take time with God, over and above all the other ‘essential’ things. I think it will prove to be one of the best choices we can ever make.