Last Sunday I didn’t have a quiet time because I got up late and had to scurry off to church. Monday I didn’t have a quiet time because I had an all day meeting and had to get to work early to prepare for it. Tuesday I didn’t have a quiet time because I volunteer at my son’s elementary school to help with traffic and I am the Top Dog on that day. Today, I didn’t have a quiet time because I have to write a blog post about having a quiet time. Tomorrow I head back to the school to help with traffic. Friday I am having our man-breakfast with my 7 year old about how to become a man of God. Saturday, I am planning to not have a quiet time because, well, it’s Saturday and everybody knows you don’t have a quiet time on Saturday. And on Sunday, I have a business meeting and I have to get on the road at the crack of dawn. Another week will come and go and my devotional life will be relegated to listening to the Christian Radio station on the way to work and catching a quick bless me prayer on the way into wherever I am going. That seems a far stretch from a person who believes that the “most important thing a person can do is to have a quiet time.” In fact, I am the one who has said publicly on many an occasion, “if you will do only one thing I tell you in the Christian life do this: have a daily quiet time.”
Excuses, Excuses: The Quiet Time Saga Continues. I have a friend who has a great phrase about excuses. He says, “Losers make excuses, winners make plays.” Another one of my favorite quotes about excuses says, “Excuses are like back sides, everybody’s got one.” Those are great quotes till you are the one making the excuse. I feel a lot nobler when I am the winner making the play, or one of the few not making excuses. But, when I join the massive Excuses Tabernacle Choir, I suddenly don’t feel like the hero. You see I like to be the exception. I like to be the example. I like to be the guy who doesn’t cringe when the pastor talks about the devotional life. Let the uncommitted cringe, I always say. But guys like me should be giving the talk or at least be interviewed on the big screen. I should be one of the few, the proud the devoted.
What is a quiet time some of you may be asking? I have a very simple definition of this critical discipline. The quiet time is time spent alone with God for the purpose of reconnecting and seeking direction from Him. Let me illustrate using another activity. As any good marriage counselor worth his/her salt will tell you, one of the keys to a successful marriage is to have a regular scheduled date night. (I have issues here too but we will save that for another post). The key to a successful date night is to get alone with your spouse and spend time with them. It doesn’t matter what you do. Dinner, movie, activity, whatever! As long as you are together! The only thing that must be going on is communication. You need to be talking. It can be working through a calendar or whispering sweet nothing into one another’s ears. Quiet time is like that; it doesn’t matter what you are doing you just need to getting alone with your Maker and communicating. He communicates to us primarily through the Scripture and we communicate to Him through prayer.
I have a picture in my office that I love. There is an older gentleman in his late 50’s or early 60’s. I have always liked the looks of the guy because he could be me when I get that age. He is in a business suit and sitting in a chair that he has pulled from behind his desk in his office. He has pulled his reading glasses off and they dangle in his hand as he is intently listening to Jesus who is sitting close by in another chair. You can tell that it is early morning because of the lighting of the picture. Jesus seems to be making a point to the guy. I can’t look at the picture and help but wonder what is the Master saying. What tidbit of wisdom is He passing on? What course correction is He recommending? What kind of relational encouragement might he be giving? I look at that picture and wish it could be me. Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus would meet me in my office in the early morning before I get started and give me some input? I need some input. My life continues to swirl and there are some things I am dealing with that I really need some counsel. There are some areas in my life that need to change and I don’t know how to get to the place I need to be. I need to feel the relational connection that comes from the being in the presence of the Lord.
If I could just figure a way to experience those things on a regular basis I would pay big bucks. Who needs a life coach if I could figure out how to connect with the God of Creation, Maker of heaven and earth? Oh yeah, that what a quiet time does. Maybe I need to rethink my early morning! You think!