Here’s something I put together for the introduction to evening church last week: it was probably a little too long as an intro, but there’s something useful to be had from it, I think.
One of the high points of college this year has been an unusual way of talking about spending time with God. Before I tell you the phrase, let me illustrate the concept.
You’re probably familiar with the idea of Quality time: time where your focus is directed on someone – maybe a family member, maybe a friend. This idea can also be extended to other situations, though: one of our lecturers was a lawyer earlier in his career.
When you go to spend time with a lawyer, you want to have quality time. In some situations, lawyers might be billing you for every six minutes that they spend in your company. If your lawyer offers you a cup of coffee, you say no: quality time is all about spending time focussed on the task at hand.
Imagine trying to spend quality time with a friend (or with your kids or spouse), and having that attitude.
I’m really interested in what you have to tell me: but can we just cut to the chase?
Now this insight was a bit of a revelation to me, because I have actually tried to do this, but with no real success.
It turns out that with the people that you care about, the people you want to demonstrate your love to, you show it by wasting time. If you can’t wrap the quality time that you have in quantity time – by wasting time with them – you’re robbing yourself of the quality time: it just won’t happen as much as it could.
The phrase that I learned at college? wasting time with God.
"Let’s go and hang out for a weekend and see what happens." What if we built that sense of wasting time into our relationship with God? When life is incredibly busy, and you don’t have a moment to waste… waste time with God.
We start the day with the radio, and end the day with the television.
Where’s the space to just go for a walk with God… chat things through… process things?
You need – we were told – to carve out this time with God.
Thank you, Dave, for such thoughtful comments. Spot on, methinks. It’s a potential danger of the way we structure things like our ‘quiet times’ – it’s too easy for it to be about economy of time, doing the job, ticking the boxes.
As you also picked up on Sunday night, church can get like that too. But it’s about knowing God, isn’t it? And that means we need to build quality time into the relationship. What a challenge that is! But a challenge worth wrestling with.
I’ve always thought your good friends are the ones you can do absolutely nothing with (time waste). That’s a good thought – aligning the same principle with ‘God time’.
I guess it’s no coincidence that your post came after me reading about how God wants us to have solitude from the world (and your kids – that was the context I was reading it in). If one was to ‘smell the roses’ they (on the surface) wouldn’t be doing anything more constructive than experiencing a pleasant scent, but in reality they would be helping to have a mini-recharge and the time to infuse themselves in God’s creation (taking the rose smelling in a literal sense). Looking forward to the next time I waste time with you and Kel! Kath 🙂
Awesome idea… it is in quantity that you get quality… the nonsense that people spout about having quality time with their kids is just that – nonsense. Ask any kid with working parents what they want and they will say MORE TIME with mum or dad, not better quality… 🙂
Nice way of thinking about it, it’s the sort of thing we need to remind ourselves of. Our relationship with God needs time given to it – something the modern world can seriously challenge.
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