“How much time do you spend with God each day?”
I can’t count how many times I heard this question while growing up, whether in sermons from the pulpit, devotionals in homes, or even Bible class settings.
My schedule would usually look something like this:
6:30 – Wake up
6:30-7:15 – Shower, get ready
7:15-7:45 – Breakfast
7:45-8:0 – Head to school
8:00-3:15 – School
3:15-8:00 – Practice
8:00-8:30 – Dinner
8:30-10:30 – Homework
10:30-11:00 – Read Bible, pray
11:00 – Sleep
After turning in my schedule to the teacher I would anxiously wait until the dreaded response was given, “By looking at your schedule, it appears that you devote approximately 7.5 hours to sleeping, 1.5 hours to eating, 45 minutes to getting ready, 8 hours to education, 5 hours to extracurricular activities, and 30 minutes of your day is given to God.”
Ouch! Talk about feeling ashamed. No kid wants to hear they only devote 30 minutes of a 24-hour day to God.
This activity always left me feeling guilty and defeated. I longed for the teacher or preacher to tell me how much time I needed to block out of my day for God. But the only advice I was given, was to “spend more time with God.”
But as I looked at my daily schedule, my question became, “How?” I had to eat. I had to sleep. I had to go to school. I had to practice sports. I had to do homework. My daily activities felt like necessities, yet there it was, in black ink, “30 minutes with God a day”.
As a young Christian, I was actually afraid to turn to God and ask for help regarding this dilemma. I feared the Bible would tell me to abandon my friends, my schoolwork, my sleep, my hobbies, or even my food, in order to devote more time to God.
The answers I found in God’s Word, however, were far less complicated than any solution I, or my teachers came up with during those activities.
I realized that God wants us to invest in relationships. In fact, He created us with a strong desire to be relational. He gave us the example of Adam needing a partner in order to be fulfilled, though Adam had God and everything he could possibly imagine, surrounding him (Genesis 2-3). He also gave us sound advice when He informed us we are stronger when we are not alone (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
If God created us with the need and desire to have relationships with others, then God desires for us to spend time investing in those relationships.
God gave man the responsibility to work. In fact, He taught that unless a man works with His own hands, he should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). He instructed us that whatever work we find ourselves investing in, we are to approach the job with all our might (Colossians 3:23).
If God instructed us to work, then God desires for us to invest in the training and education required to successfully provide for ourselves and our families.
The same God who rested from His work on the 7th day, created His children in His same image. Just as Jesus Himself was created to need time to sleep, eat, and care for Himself, so are we. We are told that our bodies are the temples of God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The way we eat, exercise, sleep, view ourselves, and treat our bodies, effects and reflects how we protect His temple.
If God created us for the need to care for ourselves, then God desires for us to invest in the time we need to rest, re-energize, strengthen ourselves, and protect ourselves from harm.
God created us with many purposes, gave us many responsibilities, and expects many things out of us in this short life. He never once told us how many minutes of each day to devote “to Him”. But instead He tells us that whatever we do, “in word or deed, do ALL in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).
Maybe we need to stop asking ourselves how much time we devote to God each day, and start asking ourselves how big a part God plays in every second of our daily activities. Maybe we need to stop focusing on what part of the day we will stop and set aside for God, and start focusing on letting God be the center of every word, decision, and action in our lives.