It’s 7:30 a.m. and already there aren’t enough hours in the day and there certainly isn’t enough caffeine to adequately fuel our sleep starved bodies through the day ahead. Six hours sleep will have to do.
Although we know that we are to obey the laws of the land in keeping with Titus 3:1 we rely upon grace to understand our reasons for having to go 5 m.p.h. over the speed limit. We breathe an anxious sigh of relief, knowing that, if only for today, we don’t have to drive 10 m.p.h. over the limit. Praise God!
At our respective places of employment the “Things to Do Today” list stands Goliath-like before us. Anxiety steps aside so fear can ascend to the throne of our mind. The changing of the guard.
Somehow, over the past two decades or so and somewhere along the way we’ve managed our time so efficiently that time is now able to manage us. The taskmasters were quick to realize that technology has made our workaday lives so much easier that many of us had time for church; devotions, prayer and ministry, and they felt the need to seize upon our idle time. (Exodus 5:8) Our choosing to trust God just a little bit less made their job that much easier. Their idol overtook our “idle” and we’ve unwittingly helped them “prop up” Dagon again. (1 Samuel 5:3)
As gently as I know how, I have to say that we’ve streamlined our beliefs in such a way that the unsaved world can’t differentiate between “us” and “them”. In fact, our willingness to compromise is so much so that even we can’t tell the difference. Our alarm clocks are just as demanding as theirs, our “To Do” list is basically the same as theirs, and the grey hairs we’ve acquired from the same things that stress them out are hidden by the same chemicals they buy.
Not only has the world gone over our emotional speed limit, we’ve encouraged it. There we are at the same stores buying the latest, fastest, biggest, brightest and best technology available to continue to speed up our lives while we complain how slow dial-up is and we just have to have “it”.
Truth is, we don’t need another “it” we need Him and we need Him for every reason imaginable. We need Him and we desperately need His alarm clock, His schedule for our days, and His “To Do” list. Take my word for it, if we don’t TAKE the time for Jesus Christ, the world in which we live will make absolutely certain that they don’t give us so much as a moment to even consider it.
You are all nodding in agreement. Some of you whispered an “amen, brother.”, but that’s not all. It’s not enough to simply agree, it’s not nearly enough. Before we get to the answer to our question there is a definite need for me to dig this “pit” even deeper. Knowing human nature as I do, there are some of you reading this that will comfort yourselves by “flying beneath the radar” and this is an awful luxury that my own heart simply cannot allow.
There are among us those poor souls who are so busy in ministry that they have no idea what Gods’ will is for their lives. You know who you are and you have to admit that your days are little more than “I hope this is His will for my life, but I’m not completely convinced.”
Outside a church building which is located on a major thoroughfare in my hometown there is a reader board. You know those handy boards with the removable letters. About every 3 months or so there is a notice posted letting the motoring public know that their “School of Preaching” is about to commence again, and again, and again.
Each time I pass I wonder if those folks have even taken the time with our Father, asking Him if they are even called by Him to attend. Or, do they just do it because it’s expected of them? I fear it’s the latter. Who has the time for such idleness nowadays?
Just because it’s “in the bible” doesn’t mean that a particular course of action is Gods’ will for you. Some would have us believe that God wants to heal everybody. After all, they read that into their bibles, so it simply must be true.
But, if it is God’s will to heal everybody, then Jesus Christ was disobedient. He was a defiant rebel against the will of God, and a lukewarm prodigal, who was backslidden in heart. He willfully disobeyed that day at Bethesda when He healed only one man and “spit” in Gods’ face as He walked away from all the others who were there for healing. He must not have known the scriptures all that well. Maybe, just maybe, He didn’t have faith enough to heal them all.
With this illustration, my hope is that you’ll see just how easy it is for us to make the Scripture say something that isn’t written there. But, we’ll believe it and we’ll believe it to the point of crucifying any brother or sister who disagrees with us.
I know a man whom I have difficulty referring to as a friend. There once was a day when our fellowship was simple and sincere. Life, being what it is, offered him some choices that have created a distance between he and I and for the most part, I understand that. What I also understand, but do not like, is that now he is so steeped in “ministry” that he has lost sight of Gods’ will for his life.
I know this because now, every time I see him, he is exhausted. His 9-5 routine exacts a toll of him and on him, but not only that, when I see him there is no evident joy when it comes to his activities at the church he attends. If ministry makes you feel as if you are attending a funeral, instead of a wedding, then it’s not ministry. The taskmaster made absolutely sure that he doesn’t have the idle time to worship the Lord; there aren’t enough hours in his day anymore. Religion has become routine and relationship is “on hold.”
Admittedly, I have been blessed. I understand what is meant by the “landmarks” in the OT. I have a few of them and the one that comes to mind is when my former pastor said to us that “ministry is NOT something you do, it is who you ARE.” I’m in debt to him for those words.
During the two decades that have passed since I heard those words, the Master builder has added stone upon stone to that and although, like you, I am not a finished work, I have the privilege of passing along to each of you some of those “stones” which have proven to me personally that our God is indeed the God of heaven and earth.
We speak too easily of those things which have “crept into the church” and if we are not careful, we overlook the real enemy; and if you’re like me, that enemy is the lazy man who wants his spirituality handed to him from the pulpit. Who has time in this accelerated world for reading, prayer and meditation? I want bigger, faster and more comfortable and I want it now!
Another landmark shared with us by the same pastor was this; “strong trees grow slow.” What I have learned from that is this; that if I have to have it today, then I probably don’t need it at all.
We’ve all said, when speaking of another, that “life is passing them by” and although there is a fraction of the truth in those words we mustn’t set our heart on them. Life is not passing you by, Jesus is The Life and only events which do not pertain to Him are passing by. To that I say, Amen and Hallelujah!
We drive our faster, comfortable cars at illegal speeds so we can get to church on time and fulfill our duties in those things we have been duped into believing are His will for us and not only that, but, we pride ourselves on thinking we have at least some idea of what is meant when we say that “God is not into religion, He’s into relationship.”
The next time someone says that to you; be bold and love them enough to ask them what that means. I daresay they’ll stutter to find an answer that even they truly believe. In fact, humble yourself before Him and ask Him if you know. Chances are you don’t have the answer, few of us do.
At the beginning of this article I mentioned “time” and I’m sure I was uncomfortably accurate in describing your situation. I’ve had literally years of “hurry up and grow in the Lord” myself which qualifies me to now say that if you have to hurry, then you are somewhere, but you are not in His will for you, much less your life. You’ve been taken captive by an enemy and that is “time.”
The bible says to “redeem the time” and if you don’t have time for the Redeemer you are wasting time and more than that, if your ministry time doesn’t include time to minister to the Lord, it’s active, but it’s not ministry and it’s anything but relationship.
Time is not our enemy. We serve the God who created time and is not subject to it. He is the not only the Maker of time, He is the Master of it and when we are mastered by our schedules, make no mistake we are once again subject to the forces that govern the world we’ve been saved out of. The only ones who should fear time are those who don’t have much of it left. You and I have eternity.
Don’t be afraid to hear Him say; “Come aside to a deserted place and REST awhile.” (Mark 6:31) This, (need it be said?) is just as much a commandment as any other word He has had to say.
If the pastor calls and tells you that you need to fill in tonight for Brother So-n-So but the Master whispers Mark 6:31 in your ear you’ll know who you serve by who you obey. You’ll know whose slave you truly are.
Read for yourself and see the truth of one other landmark given to my by my pastor when he stated that; “Jesus never ministered according to need, He ministered according to obedience.”
Think about that and by all means; take your time.