Making Time for Messiah

by Sue Towne

 

“Leisure”—is that a “bad word” in your spiritual dictionary? Does that word conjure up the guilty suspicion that leisure is a self-centered activity and highly unspiritual? I recently rediscovered the spiritual value of leisure.

Part of the problem some of us have valuing leisure is that we tend to think of leisure either as empty time or as time to pursue frivolous activities. But if we think of leisure as time for creativity or growth, for reflection on our lives, or just recuperation from the daily grind of living, then we begin to rightly discern what leisure is about.

For a believer in Yeshua (and especially for a person of prayer), leisure is a golden opportunity. Yeshua invites us into leisure with Him with words like “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Or “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mk. 6:31).

Jesus, the foundation of Christianity, is a person, not a set of teachings. To grow as Christians, we need to take time to know this Person better and better as we walk through life. It’s true that we can know Him in a measure in the hustle and bustle of daily living or in crisis. We can “practice His presence” as Brother Lawrence did while he worked in the kitchen, or be struck in wondrous amazement as He stills the storms in our lives.

But I believe that in this year of 2005, the Lord is calling us to look deliberately for the opportunities to come away and rest with Him. I believe He is calling us to be truly “counter-cultural” and buck the trend to more and more busyness.

There’s an old hymn that was sung among the Methodists called “Take Time to Be Holy.” Holiness has in it the idea of being set apart unto God. Our Lord is calling us to come apart with Him before we “come apart” from fatigue, overwork or distress.

Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do as people of prayer is to take a refreshing nap at the invitation of the Lord. Other times the greatest worship we can engage in is to walk in a place of natural beauty and just enjoy it with Him.

In recent months, I have learned that the time I spent during my years at home gazing into the Lord’s face in silent prayer of contemplation has worked a discipline in my life that has now spilled over to the workplace outside my home. I find that when I am pressed or troubled on the job, I can look into the spirit and see my Beloved encouraging me, calming me, strengthening me. It makes me wonder how I ever lived without knowing Him this way.

Does this sound too strange to you? Try it and see. True leisure will energize you because it will give you the opportunity to express the real you that may have no outlet on your job or in your daily life.

Frankly, if we don’t have sufficient leisure time in our life (and the balance differs from person to person), then we will not be as available to experience the Lord more deeply and to grow in faith. Why did He give us the Sabbath?

Leisure will not just happen to you, especially in our work-driven society. You have to set aside time deliberately. And the wise pursuit of leisure is ultimately about prayer because the experience in the quiet place will eventually spill over into the rough and tumble rapids of life in this world, if we keep on practicing it.

Come apart with Him!

—Sue Towne, Messianic Vision International Prayer Coordinator

Scripture marked NKJV taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Emphasis added.

 

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