As a fan of “mockumentaries” such as The Office, I found myself naturally drawn into another mockumentary a few years back called Parks and Rec. On the show, two characters, once a year, have a “Treat Yo’self Day”- a day in which they spend crazy amounts of money on things they want, pampering, and just ridiculous things, really. I thought of that while I was sitting outside listening to nature talk around me. I was working on my sermon and found myself more focused than I am when I’m secluded in my office at the building. Why?
I realized that I don’t take the time to “Treat Myself” to some alone time with God often enough. You might be thinking, “Wait… You’re a preacher! Aren’t you always spending that time with Him?” Sadly, no. While I am a minister, I’m also a father, a husband, an employee at another job, etc. Sometimes the cares of this world, sadly overwhelm me, or take a shameful precedence over time with God.
I find that when I take the time to get away from the stresses this world puts on me and relax in His comfort, I find solace in His peace. I find that my days spent stressing over the worries of this world are fleeting and that I need to find more opportunities to experience alone time with Him.
Away from a computer that has an alert pop up every 5-10 minutes. Away from the florescent lights, the buzz of electricity and HVAC units.
Just away from the world.
It really does take more than just a couple hours a week spent in worship and fellowship with the brethren. Jesus calls us to be lights in the world (Mt. 5:14), and that task can sometimes be difficult if we spend too much time in the darkness of the world to allow our batteries to die out. We need to “take time to be holy” (cf. Lev. 19:2) and recharge our lights.
In Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus offers one of His many commands. In this section, he teaches us to practice righteousness between you and God alone. To glorify Him and not ourselves. The wonderful thing about being well versed in this practice is that we get to spend more and more time alone with Him.
I think God desires that. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Mt 5:6 – ESV)” Are we hungry for this time with Him? Or is it more satisfying to catch the latest episode on TV, read the latest Facebook updates, etc.? Jesus is our ultimate example, and we see him going off to spend alone time with the Father as well. Mark 1:35 is a good example: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (ESV)”
We know that God desires a relationship with all of His children, and there’s more to a relationship than a few hours a week attending public worship or bible study. Remember the very first of the ten commandments? “You shall have no other gods before me. (Ex. 20:3)”
We may not think of them as idols, but anything we put over God is an idol. Yes, I’m talking about TV, sports, the news, America, money, job, family, etc. If you truly thirst for righteousness, what are you putting into your relationship with God? Imagine if your personal relationships were only focused on a few times a week, like we sometimes do with God… How would marriages pan out?
My wife, Sarah, and I will soon be celebrating 11 years of marriage in June. If I only dedicated 4 hours a week to her over the last 10 years, then she would have only received around 4-months-worth of my attention. That wouldn’t be considered a very healthy relationship, would it? Think about how much time you’ve dedicated to God over the past 10 years. Or the last week.
There’s more to a relationship than a few hours a week attending public worship or bible study. – @DADrake24
Have you ever taken the time to get away from the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day routine and just spend time with God? Is God even a part of your daily routine? If not… Fix it! Schedule a time in the coming days and weeks and spend an hour away from distractions, commotion, and the stresses of the world. One hour reading, studying, praying, singing whatever you want to do, but spend time with God. Dear church, focus on Him. Rejoice in HIM! He’s the reason you have hope and joy.
Derek Drake is the minister at the Loveland Heights Church of Christ in Loveland, Ohio and maintains the “Duck Disciple” blog at http://duckdisciple.wordpress.com. You can follow him on Twitter or follow the blog on Facebook.