I’m not used to working a Monday through Friday, 8-hour schedule. I’m used to my three 12-hour shifts and four glorious days off. But I recently transferred to the Operating Room and had to say goodbye to my 12s. The most difficult adjustment has been in the spiritual arena. All of a sudden, I no longer have my four days off to pray and study Scripture. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I can even get 10 minutes to myself to start my day off with my Jesus. Needless to say, it’s been a little rough. There simply aren’t enough hours in a day. So what do I do? What do we do? — Because I know I’m not the only one in this boat.
Some days, I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above the water. There’s just too much to do. And most of it is necessary stuff, good stuff, God-glorifying stuff. And yet I feel drained. Monday comes around and I’m already looking forward to 3PM Friday. The weekends just whiz by. Usually, life is even more packed on the weekends than during the week.
How does that even happen?
Could it be that I’m not getting the necessary nutrients to keep me going? Most certainly, YES. I need carbs. I need an overdose of extraordinary proportions. I know all of the health nuts out there are shaking their heads and wondering why I’m giving such terrible dietary advice. I’m not talking about paninis and spaghetti and mac’ and cheese, y’all.
The Bread of Life.
More of Him.
That’s what I need.
I need REAL sustenance. I need a hearty meal. I need the Word of God. But the hustle and bustle of everyday life keeps me distracted. It keeps me prioritizing convenience. It keeps me prioritizing self.
David writes the following in Psalm 19:
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. | Psalm 19:7-11
How good and profitable the Word of God is! What promises and assurances we have in these few words! And yet, do we recognize it as such? When life is packed, what’s the first thing to go? For most of us, it’s the studying of His Word. We may maintain our prayer lives by a thread, but spending time in the Word usually gets cut first. Why? Because it takes time. Because it takes undivided attention. Both of which we don’t have.
Or do we?
Are we being good stewards of the time and energy that have been entrusted to us? The time and energy we possess don’t come from ourselves or from a power outlet. They come from HIM. How are we using that which He has entrusted to us?
Work and school are necessary parts of life. But neither one is everything. Our jobs and our educational opportunities come from Him too. And while we should work as unto the Lord, perhaps all our time and energy need not be used there.
I’d wager to say that He would be more pleased,
and we would be more blessed, if we spent all for Him.
So here’s what I’m thinking: I need to carve out time for Him and trust Him to check off my to-do list as HE sees fit. Maybe I don’t actually need to learn all 500 surgical instruments today. Maybe I don’t need to be an overachiever and get ahead on homework or work-work. Maybe I just need to give to the Lord that which is His and then trust Him to work out the rest. Maybe I need to rest.
Our instinct is to finish first the things that are due first. Our instinct is to knock out our to-do list so that we can spend time with the Lord, undistracted. Usually, that ends up with us just not spending time with Him (or rushing through it to get to bed or falling asleep through it).
Here’s a fresh new perspective:
Pick Him first.
Pray away the distractions and then trust Him to do away with them. Reading the Bible every day is kind of like starting a new book. Sometimes it takes a while for us to get into it. But once we’re in, once we’re focused, we’re hooked. When I’m consistently studying the Word, I am full of joy and energy and a desire to study all the more. The second I start putting my study time off, I’ve allowed a 50-foot wall to drop in between me and the Lord. Not that it’s actually there, but that just looking at the wall deters me from even trying to get to the other side.
In Psalm 19, David gives us seven assurances followed by five tangible blessings that come from the recognition of these truths. These assurances are concrete. They are ALWAYS true. And thus, the blessings that follow are as well. The Word of God refreshes us, matures us, brings us joy, provides clarity, lasts forever, and is altogether good – in its entirety. Why? Because It is perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, and true.
Why would we remove something like that from our lives? Why would willingly give up that which provides such blessing, such profit to us? Shouldn’t this be our priority for each day, even before our daily to-do lists? Looking at it this way, anything else just seems foolish.
Life is always going to be full. That’s never going to change. We will always, always find something to do with our time. We humans have a knack for that. But where we spend our time is of utmost importance.
David saw the value of investing time with the Lord by studying His Word. He refers to Scripture as more precious than gold, as sweeter than honey. Gold provides for needs, honey satisfies desires, but the Word of God rises above both. What a testament to the power of His Word to sustain us, to meet our every need, to meet our every desire!