After reading the passage below about a month ago, I was again amazed at how something I've read many times before could affect me so deeply. It's one of my favorite things about reading the same book in the bible, seeing something I didn't see before. After writing an email to the Cornerstone class a few weeks ago regarding this passage, I wanted to blog about it as well, but I was just "too busy". The scripture is an excellent passage about poverty and riches, but we all need to realize that riches can be so much more than just money and/or possessions and though I will touch on riches, I'd primarily like to focus on the line I put in bold below.
James 1:9-11. Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.
I want to briefly touch on "riches". Yes, it can most certainly be about money and/or possessions, but there are so many other "riches" which sidetrack us from our relationship with God and growing our faith. There's work, family commitments, kids activities and sports, friends, food, our houses, vacations, staying in or getting back in shape, parties, TV, social media, sleeping in, our golf game and many, many more. These are all wonderful things in moderation and most certainly gifts from God or "riches". However, are they the focal point of our lives to the point where we have no time for God? Speaking for myself, the answer to that question is way too oftenYES. All of those things I mentioned aren't bad, but if they are all time consuming in our lives and we never, or rarely make time for God, we fall right into the last line of the passage, in the midst of a "busy" life, they will wither and fade away.
For most of this summer, I have been in a spiritual rut, for lack of a better term. And after reading these few lines in James, I can honestly say I was blown away. I came to realize that I've have been way too busy to find time for God. Yes, I've done some occasional reading and been at church every week and even prayed, but it's usually when I have "extra time". You see, my point is this, God gives us so much, we are blessed with abundant riches and yet those blessings can almost become all time consuming, to the point where we don't have much time, if any, for God in our daily lives.
Are we in the midst of such a busy life, that we only spend time with Him when we have some spare time? I have been trying to make time every day for God after reading this passage about four weeks ago and I can honestly say, other than a random day here or there, I am still absolutely terrible at it. And this is even after the aforementioned email I sent to Cornerstone. If we truly want to spend more time with God, it has to be intentional, it has to be something we wholeheartedly want to make part of our daily lives.
Imagine if God was there for us only when He had spare time, which by the way, would be never, or after He was done doing all His "other stuff". Imagine if He wasn't there always, at any time of the day, but only during Sundays and specified prayer time, or only during certain hours of the day or week. That's what so amazing and at times, hard to fathom. He's always there, ALWAYS!! And yet, because we are too busy, we can only give Him an hour on Sundays, except in the summer, when we're "even busier" and if we have time during the week, after we finish with all the other important things we need to do, then we'll get to Him.
Now I didn't write this to make us all feel guilty about how we spend our time, or guilty about what's truly important in our lives. All that stuff I mentioned above is important, but we can't let it be so important that we have little if any time for God on a daily basis. Because I believe if we do that, then yes, we will wither away. As I was writing to Cornerstone, my thoughts wandered back to what I said earlier in that email, that I was in a spiritual rut. In the midst of writing to them, I had the following revelation, every time I've been in one of those ruts, there was one thing missing, meaningful, truly meaningful time spent with God. I know there are times when we are just so busy, that it's not possible that day to spend some time with Him. That's called life and at this time of the year, it's also called SUMMER. However, it is very easy to get into that life mode, especially in the summer and the next thing you know, we haven't been to church in weeks, picked up our bible, had some meaningful prayer time, served in some capacity at the church, gone out of your way to serve or reach out to others, or just spent some quiet time with our Lord. It's especially easy to do in the summer, isn't it? All I have to do is look in the mirror. I'm the king of being in "summer break mode".
So what's the answer? What's the solution? There are many, like don't get caught up in the busyness of our summer schedule, or don't let all our "riches" get in the way, or don't say we're too busy today and we'll get back to Him tomorrow and many more I could give you. But in the end, the question is what do we want in our lives? Will it be a life full of stuff and things and possessions and busyness, with little if any time for God? Or is it a day to day relationship with the one who gives us all those blessings? After all is said and done, it's our choice.
My prayer for all of us is that we can make more time for God, every single day. If we do that, I truly believe the spiritual ruts will be few and far between, we'll all be much, much better for the that time we invested with our Father and His son and we won't wither, but truly blossom in our faith and in service to our Father.