Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Journey—The Gift of Time

January is usually the time that we reflect on last year to see what we have accomplished. Did we meet our goals and objectives? Was it a successful year? What did our hard work bring us?

For the past 30 years, I haven’t experienced living the standard 40-hour week. I think it is safe to say that you haven’t either. No one will ever be able to accuse me of letting the grass grow beneath my feet. Anyone who works in media and ministry knows that it is a time-consuming job. For the past 20 years, I have produced a weekly television program, taught students, worked with interns, and ran and managed a ministry. All of that came to an end in 2009 as the ministry I worked for decided to go a different direction. As I evaluated 2010, it seemed to be a disappointment. What did I accomplish? From my point of view, it seemed as if I had taken a step back. But as I reflected upon it and prayed, God revealed to me that he had given me a gift—the gift of time. Perhaps, one of the greatest gifts that anyone can receive because it provides perspective and insight.

This past year, I had time to read, time to pray, time to reflect, time to write, time to diligently seek a relationship with God, time to get into the Word of God, and time to think. I didn’t realize I had been given a real opportunity and blessing when I lost my ministry. Having time, gives you the ability to see the big picture. It’s like having an aerial view. You can see the entire landscape and how it fits together. God decided it was time for me to have time. We all have the ability to give ourselves the gift of time, but often we don’t believe we have permission to do it. Unless something dramatically changes in our life, we are often stuck on a treadmill.

We live in a society that values work and the work ethic. We are driven to success. In fact, we feel guilty if we do not fill every minute of the day with some activity. It is as if we feel we are slackers when we are not constantly busy.

Here’s what God has revealed to me about time. First, we spend a lot of time on things that are a waste of time. Why do we invest our time on temporal matters when we should be pursuing things that are eternal? I’m not telling you that you can’t enjoy life or pursue recreational activities. But our focus and our time have to be on things that will last forever. Second, we spend a great deal of time pursuing our own agenda. I’m as guilty as the next person on this one. I realize I have failed in this matter. We often ask God to join us in what we are dong. But I have learned an important lesson this past year. We must diligently seek to find where God is at work and then join Him in His efforts.

And finally, you’ve heard the saying that we make time for the things that are important to us. And that’s true. But the problem is, how do we know what is really important? There’s only one way that you will ever fully understand what is important and what is not important. And this will require time. Only by pursuing a relationship with God can we know this. And if you are too busy filling your time with other things, that relationship will not pursue you.

My final thoughts. No matter how hard you work, you can never add a 25th hour to the day. The older I get, the more I realize that time is truly a gift—a gift from God. We must use it wisely. Find the time to reflect, to pray, to think and to pursue Him this coming year. I now realize that this past year has not been a failure but an opportunity for growth and insight. Without the gift of time, I would never have been able to write my book, The Red Pill, because I would not have been able to hear from God. Unless we are willing to slow down and give ourselves the time, how will we ever hear the voice of God?

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