I’ve just returned from a holiday with my family and the time away led me to reflect on time.
The very best part of the holiday was the possibility of spending continuous time with my family. As a pastor I am probably able to get more time with my children than many dads – I can sometimes come home for lunch with them and I can often be around for bath time and bed time. But even so, I probably only manage a few hours each day with them and some days rather less.
But there are no two ways about it, the soil in which relationships grow is time. To have time to play and talk and experience things together is a wonderful opportunity. To be able to take the time to run up a hill together just because your three year old wants to is a fabulous privilege. And my relationship with the girls has strengthened.
Now this is patently true in our relationship with God too. As I jot down these thoughts I am just reaching the end of a quiet morning – time set aside to walk and read and pray. A time to restore perspectives on life and simply to enjoy being a child of God. And it has done me good.
But the truth is, coming back from a week away and with a busy week ahead, everything in me wanted to get straight to the desk, to the emails, to the to do list, to the sermon preparation. Because my default setting is to do. But I need to learn to take time. To linger in the moment.
Because what I have been reminded of this week is that activity is no substitute for time and relationship.
One of the Scriptures which started me off on this train of thought a week or so ago was our ‘low Sunday’ service reflecting on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-35). I was struck by the thought that on Resurrection day – when Jesus probably had a pretty long list of urgent things to do and appearances to make, he spent several hours just walking and talking and explaining the Scripture to a couple of disciples – one of whom we don’t even know the name of! Jesus understood the importance of time with people and the priority of relationships.
God’s perspective on time is (unsurprisingly) completely different from ours. When you reflect on the big picture of the Bible you see that He lays up His plans thousands of years in advance. He is in no hurry but rather does everything at just the right time. And He knows where it is all going.
LORD help me to learn to take time – with you and with others. To linger on the things which you think are important. To trust you that your plans are perfect. And to look forward to the New Heavens and the New Earth where we will literally have all the time in the world…