If you had said to me six months ago that a time was coming when the people of the UK would be asked to remain in their homes for at least three weeks I wouldn’t have believed you and yet here we are. We are being told to only go outside ‘for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)’ and for most of us this is going to be very difficult time, even though we fully understand why it is neccesary.
As I was pondering this and telling God how I was feeling, these words floated through my thoughts:
What will you do with this gift of time?
As I began to consider this, I remembered a time several years ago when I was overbusy and overloaded. At that time someone recomended that I read ‘The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness’ by Tim Chester. I got hold of a copy and it sat on my desk for a few weeks and then it got moved to a bookshelf and that is where it has been since.
Yes, that’s right. I have been too busy to read ‘The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness’, Pretty ironic huh!
As these three weeks (and perhaps longer?) roll by, what will we do with the gift of time that we have been given? What will consume our thoughts?
Will we be resentful and complain for the whole time? Let’s face it, the circumstances that have caused the social distancing we are living with are terrible and we could very reasonably spend the time in a downward spiral descending into deeper misery. We could do this, but is it what we want to do with the gift of time that has been given to us?
The start to this time of physical islation has been pretty busy for a lot of us but as it goes on, will we keep ourselves busy for the sake of it or will we seek to use the time we have been given to do what is important?
How can we use the gift of time to deepen our relationship with God?
The first thing that we may need to do is to follow the biblical command to pour out our hearts to God (Psalm 62.8). The reality is that we will be unable to find happiness, peace and contentment without confronting and naming our deep frustrations first. The good news is that as we make time to pour these things out in prayer, we make room for God to fill that space with his loving presence.
Eveb when God’s presence is growing in us, we still work on keeping our focus on him. You might find Who Have You Invited?: The Parable of the Dinner Party helpful as you reflect on this.
How can we use the gift of time to deepen our relationship with others?
I realize that at a time when we are not meeting people outside of our household that this may seem like an odd suggestion but this really can be a time when we deepen relationships. One of the things is keeping me busy at the moment is that I am using the time that I have to phone the leaders of the churches of which I am a Regional Minister. I’m not calling them with an agenda or with an outcome in mind, I’m simply calling, listening and offering advice, prayer and support. How can we make contact with people we know using the phone, letters or other forms of technology?
If you wnat to think some more about the importance of us growing as disciples together then you might find The One About Being Connected helpful.
How can we use the gift of time to deepen our understanding of God’s Kingdom? As we do this, will we recomit ourselves to playing our part in its expansion?
The Covid-19 Pandemic has reminded us of the value of life. We want people to live and I hope that we also want them to live well and to find fulfilment. As Christians we believe that we find this fulfilment in our relationship with Jesus and in the way that we can join him in the work of expanding his kingdom.
We are called to put the Kingdom of God first but the reality is that this can get lost in the busyness of life. Will we use this gift of time to put Jesus back at the centre of our lives if he has drifted out of that place? If you would like to think about this some more then you might find God is for life, not just for Sundays! helpful.
In the film ‘Click’, Adam Sandler’s character finds a remote control that enables him to either pause, rewind or fastforward life. In one emotional scene, he uses the remote to watch himself being too busy to speak to his father (I have posted a link to the clip below). He looks on in disgust as his father speaks to him lovingly whilst he ignores him. The pain he feels in that moment is clear and his sense of regret that he could not see what was important in that moment. As he pauses and finds some perspective he can see clearly what life is about and what he should have been living for.
What are we living for and how will we use this Gift of Time that we have been given?