It's About "Time"
As I’ve worked with young stock over the years I’ve learned that the one thing that must be given a young horse, especially during its early crucial days under saddle, is regular time. A horse that is started under saddle, and then only ridden at intermittent intervals, will never become truly finished until someone takes the time to put consistent daily hours in the saddle. It’s the careful repetition of daily lessons, the ongoing habitual experience of give and take between horse and rider, that builds a solid foundation between the two. Without this type of well laid foundation, the horse will always be–at best–an inconsistent ride.
Once a horse has been well trained, it generally needs less daily time under saddle than a younger animal. Most of us realize this is more true of some horses than of others, though the condition and reliability of any horse is improved with regular use. The horse that can stand in a field for months and still act the same under saddle as it did during its last ride is a rare–and generally very mature–animal. And while long daily rides may not be required, even that kind of horse will become better conditioned and more sensitive to its rider’s cues when used regularly.
It’s the same with our spiritual lives. It’s not by chance that most new Christians are hungry for time with God. How refreshing it is to be in the presence of one of these ‘frisky young colts!’ Once a good spiritual foundation is laid in our lives, most of us do not require hours a day for prayer and study. Some of us labor under false guilt when we begin to achieve this greater maturity–it seems there ought to be some ‘rule’ about giving Him a certain amount of time each day. I’ve discovered that, once our spiritual foundation has been well laid, most of us don’t require extensive hours of devoted study and prayer to remain in good spiritual condition. We practice being aware of His presence is all circumstances, and when we do take focused time away for Him, we bring a greater foundation of knowledge and confidence, no longer having to start out by covering all the basics.
However, the temptation to forego any time alone with God can become a snare. We know God understands just how busy our days have become, and it seems He won’t mind being sandwiched in as we breath a quick prayer for a good parking spot downtown, or ask for safety as we head out on the trail during a precious weekend outing. Indeed, I believe He does understand–in other words, there is no condemnation heaped upon us because we fail to spend "X" amount of time devoted toward Him alone.
The tragedy is that we miss out on having, becoming–being–God’s best when we fail to offer Him the regular sacrifice of time. Yes, sacrifice. What do we possess that is more valuable than our time? Do we own any material object that can be traded for a single additional minute of life? Therefore, how we choose to spend our time says more about our values than how we choose to spend our money.
There is no better investment in this world than the investment we make when we devote regular time to God–and we miss out on His greatest blessings when we fail to do so. We become like a half-trained, or out of condition, inconsistent horse, failing to achieve that extra measure of fitness, and ongoing confidence in our rider (Master) that would help see us through difficult situations. Like a half wild horse, we count on our own efforts–or those of our human ‘herd-mates’–for acquiring those things we want or need in this life, rather than depending upon the ability and willingness of God to provide us with every good thing. The wisdom that only God can give begins to be in shorter supply, thus adding to our burden of errors, confusion, and responsibilities. The ‘sweet savor’ of His Spirit becomes less apparent to others around us. . .less available to those in need of a true touch from Him. How can we hope to offer others a refreshing spiritual drink when we ourselves are half parched?
I pray that God will increasingly prompt those of us who love Him to remember that the time we choose to offer to Him will be richly rewarded, hour by hour, and day by day–until that perfect Day arrives, and we are with Him. . .completely, always and forever.
Ephesians 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Luke 10:38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.
40 But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me."
41 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;
42 one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her."
Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Isaiah 40:29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength.30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.