The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
“But I trust in you O Lord; I say, “you are my God.” My times are in your hands ...”
There are 168 hours in a week. So I discovered when I set about budgeting my time. I had gone along to a seminar on budgeting. It was really all about money, but money was not my problem, but rather, time. With a busy job and an intense ministry, life was very full and rewarding, there was however a real squeeze on time. They showed me how to count up all that was available on one side and what it had to go on the other side. Then a difference between the two would show what was free to spend. All well and good, so I took this concept and applied it to time. On the one side there was what was available: 168 hours. On the other side I had to estimate, time for work, sleep, cooking, eating, church, ministry groups, preparing Bible studies, ... The sum total at the end 168 hours!
I could hardly believe it when I came to the total. Surely there must have been an exaggeration in some of the numbers. I tried recalculating it, using different numbers, but each time I went through shaving in one area, something else came up that was too small in another. In the end I always came up with 168 hours.
If the number had been 167 I would have thought: “Well, it is not much but at least I have one hour to myself.” If the number had been 169 I would have thought: “This is impossible, something will have to change.” But no, the number was 168. I had no time to myself. It was a depressing time of frustration. I became resentful of the fact that I had no time to myself. Everyone else seemed to have time to enjoy themselves, why not me too.
Eventually it dawned on me that my problem arose through separating time between responsibility and personal, or between secular and spiritual. What I was trying to do, was to make a deal with God. “I give most of my available time as an offering to you so that you can be pleased with me and bless me.” In the mean time I wanted to maintain some time for myself, such that God could bless my own selfish ends. It was in a way an expression of independence from the God who loves me; of not being satisfied with him and the life that he gives. I was looking for this free time in some way to be a source of recompense and life to me.
This realisation brought me to a place of surrender. I needed to see my whole life as the Lord's, not just the hours of ministry and personal devotion. It was the beginning of an understanding that there is no real distinction between ministry and life. My times are in the Lord's hands and they are for him to give and to take as he sees fit. The place of surrender was a great place of perspective for here there was peace and an acknowledgement that the Lord knows my every need and will provide all that is needed.
As I began to walk in this new perspective, I began to see that there was always the right amount of time. It might not exist on the schedule, but then the schedule could not allow for people being unable to make meetings, for tasks to take less time than anticipated, for my needs of refreshment to come through unexpected avenues. Yes there was usually a squeeze on time, but there was enough time to do what the Lord was setting before me at that moment.