I’m always wishing there were more hours in the day, so that I could find the time to do all the fantastic things I have planned. Building web sites, studying, organising my paperwork, keeping fit. But no, I’m stuck with the same twenty-four hours that we all have to make do with, and once I’ve got up, got ready for work, travelled to work, done my working day, travelled home, changed, eaten, and gone through my email and paperwork, there’s just not enough time to do anything.
A few weeks ago, half way through the Euro 2012 Football Championship, I realised something odd was happening. Somehow, despite the challenges of my limited hours, I was managing to watch two football matches every day. And you know what, the teams I was watching weren’t even of much interest to me! So I was finding over three hours a day to sit and watch a half-meaningless sporting contest, and none of the everyday essentials I’ve listed above were compromised – not a single one!
It was a real wake-up call. More interesting matches were coming up, but I knew that after the championships were done I could dedicated a good chunk of time every day to those life-enhancing productive tasks that I’d wanted to do for so long. And you know – most of what I wanted to do was for the glory of God, or to help me build my relationship with Him. There couldn’t be a better motivation, surely?
Well, the championships finished – congratulations Spain – and I found myself dealing with a few tricky personal and family issues. That kind of thing happens to us all from time to time, and it’s right to deal with them properly and look after your family. All right.
So now I’ve got those issues under control and I can start dedicating my time.
Ah, but the Olympic Games have just got going. And there’s all these amazing sports that I don’t have any interest in except for once every four years, and it’s happening in my country, so it’s extra special, and there’s so many amazing stories, and great coverage for more than twelve hours a day on up to twenty-four high definition channels. I have no choice, do I?
The truth is, I do have a choice, and every time I choose to spend several hours watching sport instead of putting things right in my life, either practically or spiritually, I’m making a bad choice. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying sport, and there’s nothing wrong with taking some time out to relax, enjoy frivolous things. In fact there’s times when you absolutely must do that, to release some of the pressures of life.
But when you feel the Spirit stirring inside you, telling you there are other things you need to do, and when you ignore that instruction and do your own thing instead – then there’s something wrong.
It’s not that I’m neglecting God completely. I keep up with my daily Bible reading plans, I pray morning and evening and frequently through the day, and He is on my mind almost constantly, convicting me, comforting me, encouraging me and guiding me. But you know, most of that is really easy. It’s when He asks me to do something a bit more difficult, something more time-consuming or more intellectually demanding, that I let Him down.
And I’m telling myself now that when the Olympics are done I can dedicate a good chunk of time every day to those life-enhancing productive tasks that I’ve wanted to do for so long, but if I don’t start dedicating time now then what excuse will I find after the torch’s flame is finally extinguished?