A Banquet or Burgers -What's Your Preference?
by Barbara Smith
Solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. --Hebrews 5:14
Can you imagine refusing a friend's splendid holiday banquet and picking up burgers because you had no time to dine? Hardly! Now fast-food has its advantages, especially when the day has run out of hours. However, eating it daily is no way to build a healthy body. So too, slapdash devotions, always on-the-run, can leave us spiritually malnourished. Christians under pressure can drift, feeding ourselves from Scripture the way we devour meals at fast-food restaurants - on the run. We must choose how we will "dine" this holiday season - a banquet or burgers. If enjoying a festive holiday meal takes time to enjoy, so private Bible study and worship take time to savor.
"Who has time," a frantic homeschooling mom might ask? "My days blur together because of relentless responsibilities that gobble up any reserves. Just where am I supposed to find an extra fifteen minutes?"
Perhaps we possess it already. God gives us 168 hours a week, how much do you give back to Him? A respectable tithe of our time would be sixteen or seventeen hours A WEEK devoted to study and worship. Who's got that kind of time? Even ten minutes with the Lord might well be the "widow's mite" - all we have.
However, all of us can do better with the time He gives, can't we? We find time to stagnate in front of the computer or TV or to sleep in, zipping through morning or evening devotions. Too often, we even carry our short-order mentality into worship. Ducking quickly in and out of Sunday services, we may doze during the sermon, or become distracted with friends.
Eight Steps to Time-Tithing: Try to Take the First One!
Step 1: Savor the presence of the Living God.
" . . . cultivate faithfulness." (Psalm 37: 3b) God is delighted to meet you in your circumstances, but how much more will He do if you show Him fellowship with Him IS the desire of your heart! (37:4) Remember what the Lord Jesus did with five loaves and two fish (Luke 9:12- 17)? If you mean business, God does too! (Jeremiah 29:11-13) *TURN OFF the TV and turn to God. Put the novel or newspaper down and OPEN the Bible and hymnal.*
Step 2: Feed on What He Has Done for You.
"The Lord sustains the righteous . . . [and] knows the days of the blameless . . . "(Psalm 37: 17b-18) For example, make a list and aim to write out twenty-five things in your life for which you are thankful. Use the free time you do have, beginning now, thanking God for all He is providing you. He will redeem your time.
Step 3: Prepare for the Meal.
Go to bed on time - or earlier, so you can rise in the morning before the sounds of your life tumultuously herald another day.
Step 4: Dress to Dine.
Get dressed spiritually. The Lord doesn't want any of us to face the day unarmed. One busy mom dresses herself before her feet hit the floor. She quietly remains in bed, putting on the whole armor of the Ephesians 6 outfit, piece by piece before the battle (Ephesians 6:10-20). If you are too busy to pray through ten verses of Scripture, ask God to show you what must change in your life to spend time with Him.
Step 5: Ask for Your Portion and Eat!
Ask the Lord to feed you daily with His word that you have put into your mind. Would a loving Father let His child starve?
During the week, practice good habits of spiritual nutrition. Use index cards or "post-its" to record personal treasures from His word and place them strategically.
Memorize Scripture verses to think about when you are away from your Bible. Who has time for this, you fret? Anyone who is too busy to ponder the two simple words "Jesus wept," (John 11:35) is busier than the Lord intends.
Step 6: Enjoy What Others Have Prepared.
Learn the words to old hymns and new praise choruses and SING them throughout the day. Learn the words to "Great is Thy Faithfulness" or "Jesus Loves Me!" Now is the time to start listening to the Christmas carols for they are a nourishing reminder of God's gracious gift of His Son.
Step 7: Strengthen Others.
Take the time to think about someone else's problems. Learn to listen to others' requests and pray intelligently and knowledgeably for the Body of Christ.
Step 8: Remember the Sabbath.
Prepare yourself for worship, and help your children and spouse to prepare. Don't come to church Sunday morning the way you glide up to a fast-food window - hungry but distracted. During the week, talk about what you learned and how you are applying it. Throughout the week, think about what you will bring to worship and get the family's offering in order before you leave for church. Don't leave your Bible at home - put it by the door and take it with you!
As we take the time, He makes the time to nourish us from His feast. Where there is a will to worship, God will show the way! He has paid the price for a banquet! We must not settle for fast food!
© 1998 Barbara Smith From Growing Up Homeschooling, (or taking to heart what we wanted the kids to know) due out summer, 1998. Please email Barbara to request permission to reprint this article.
Barbara Smith has also written Teach Me Lord That I May Teach... (or what we learned thinking we were homeschooling the kids) which we highly recommend! Read our review. Her articles and ministry have been such an encouragement and blessing to us. You may purchase her book online from our CHFWeb Favorite Books Bookstore in association with Amazon.com (find it in the Homeschool section!) or order it directly from Third Floor Publishing.
For more information and helpful articles, visit the Smiths' new website! Third Floor Publishing at: http://www.chfweb.com/smith
Third Floor Publishing PO Box 827 Arnold, MD 21012 410-431-5279 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
[Note--If you don't know the Lord in a personal, saving way--find out how you can be set free from all condemnation and receive Eternal life, as well as His daily help and guidance! (Knowing God)
"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."