“Wasting” Time with Jesus

Dr. Phil. If your experience has been anything like mine, then you likely grew up learning to appreciate the importance of maximizing your time. This likely took the form of learning not to waste time and being intentional about managing it. I think it’s safe to say that in the list of non-renewable resources, time is the one that is at the very top of that list. 

Richard Wurmbrand (Romanian pastor tortured for his faith in the Soviet Union) tells the tale of a man who was walking along the dark bank of a river at night. He stumbled upon a small bag containing stones. As a distraction he walked along the river throwing these stones into the water and when he got home there were only two stones left in the bag. As he looked at them in the light, he discovered that they were actually diamonds.

Yes indeed, time is valuable, even more valuable than diamonds. Yet sometimes we don’t realize how valuable until it is gone. It is no surprise that there are so many time management techniques and strategies to maximize our efforts. Yet it is ironic that as we get older and have less time on this planet, it is only then that we learn to slow down along the journey (perhaps because we have to!).

If anyone ever had a reason to maximize time and be in a rush it would have been Jesus. Yet he waited until he was thirty to begin his ministry and then only had three years left. As I read the Gospels, I can’t even remember him running anywhere, he only seemed to walk. Other than on one occasion, we don’t even read of him using a horse or camel. It seems he could have covered so much more ground had he had a better time management coach!

He spent quite a bit of time alone with his Father, seemingly “wasting time,” particularly when so much more of his mission could have been accomplished during that time. Yet as Yancy encourages us in his book, Prayer, slowing down and “wasting time with God,” is likely the best way that we can spend our time. Being with God seems to compete against all the good things we want to do for God. But time with God is never wasted, just as visiting someone in the nursing home, or sitting with a grieving heart, or being with a friend is not wasted time.

This is not to say sitting around and doing nothing should be our goal this year, but if all our doing comes at the price of not spending time with our Father, then we will one day look back with regret. As the saying goes, we are called “human beings” not “human doings” for a reason. I realize I am likely preaching to the choir here, but at the beginning of 2024 in the midst of all the things that may be on our agenda for the year lets together make a renewed commitment to regularly “waste” our best time with the Lord.

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