Too Busy to Spend Time with God

by | Pastoring

I resonate with this quote from Oswald Chambers:

« The great enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ today is the idea of practical work that has no basis in the New Testament but comes from the systems of the world. This work insists upon endless energy and activities, but no private life with God. The emphasis is put on the wrong thing. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation….For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). It is a hidden, obscure thing. An active Christian worker too often lives to be seen by others, while it is the innermost, personal area that reveals the power of a person’s life. 

We must get rid of the plague of the spirit of this religious age in which we live. In our Lord’s life there was none of the pressure and the rushing of tremendous activity that we regard so highly today, and a disciple is to be like His Master. The central point of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship with Him, not public usefulness to others. » – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 19

I feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders as a pastor. I have never had a single day where I had no task or no pressing matter to attend to. The list of tasks I should be doing are very long. The list of expectations from members are too numerous to mention. The hours in the day too short.

This doesn’t even count time with my wife and kids. I don’t want to be an absent father or husband. My children are with me for such a short time, I want to be sure I have enjoyed them as well as had a positive impact on them.

Besides the unending ministry responsibilities and my family responsibilities, I love to read. I want to write. I like watching baseball and hockey… It’s enough to tear one’s hair out!

STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES!

A while back I was studying the life of Moses and was struck by how much quantity of time he devoted to being with God. In just one period of time, when the children of Israel were at Mount Sinaï, Moses was 40 days and nights on the mountain with God.

Moses waited 7 days before God made his appearance! 

Moses waited 7 days before God made his appearance! I was and am still convicted by this. 7 days! When have I spent 7 days in solitude, doing nothing,  waiting for God to show up? When have you?

Moses stays on the mountain 40 days and God gives him the 10 commandments. At the end of the 40 days, God tells Moses that Israel has been unfaithful and will be destroyed. Moses interceded for them, then goes down the mountain to deal with them.

Now during these 40 days, some of the people have become convinced that Moses is dead and isn’t coming back. They decide to take matters into their own hands and suffer deadly consequences.

Finally, after Moses has ´cleaned up’ the camp, what does he do? He heads up the Mountain for another 40 days and nights! 80 days of solitude with God in a span of maybe 90…

I can’t even imagine what my congregations would think of my taking 80 days for fasting and prayer! Even if they would be fine with it, i would struggle with feelings of guilt. I’d probably be thinking something like ´I should be DOING something!. ´

Anyhow, the quote by Chambers reminds me once again to remember that I have nothing to share with my people if I haven’t first received it from God. If I expect to receive a large blessing to share, I must be ready to spend large amounts of time with God.