Monday, February 24, 2014


A common sentiment in the church today is that it is difficult to find the time for Bible study and prayer. Most often I hear leaders in the church counter this line of thinking by saying it is all just a matter of priorities. That’s true, it is, but in my experience such lecturing is largely ineffectual. We need to speak the language of worship, for that is what man hungers for in the quiet places of his heart. Man doesn’t hunger for duty, obligation and strategizing. He was made at the first for worship. It is his design, and that design finds expression in a desire after God.  If we understood things perfectly, coming to the conclusion that our job kept us from being in God’s word we would quit our job. Nothing of temporal concern should trump the eternal. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you, but, for one reason or another, the priorities lecture doesn’t seem to get the job done.

Someone might say I have trouble finding time for studying the Word of God and prayer, and instead of speaking about priorites, I say remember the widow and her one small coin that she put into the offering (Mark 12:41-44). She had very little money Just as you may have very little time, but when she gave what she had, though it was scarce and hard to come by, it was received by Jesus as greater than those who gave vast amounts out of their abundance. So you may be a busy person with very little time to spare for studying your Bibles and praying, but think how much it will delight your Father in heaven that you gave out of your time-poverty to worship Him in that way. Yours is a more precious offering to bring. Some with an abundance of spare time might even envy you.

Or someone might say, “I have never been much of a reader. It’s harder work for me to read and study than for others.” Rather than speaking of priorities, point them to Zacchaeus who, though he was a short man, climbed a tree to see Jesus above the crowds.  Sometimes it might require more effort to rise above the crowd of temporal concerns between us and Jesus as well as the limitations of our own design to get a better look at Him, but it is always worth it.

We must learn to speak the language of worship because it is worship that man hungers for and responds to. Such reasoning will bear the weight of wonder and desire in a way that speaking of priorities will not.


Desiree Zimmerman said...

for me, I'm thankful that although i go through ups and downs that the Lord has kept me in a season of being on my face. first thing in the morning after i get my kids settled, i am able to dig into devotions. i think the Lord has been gracious enough to help me realize how my days go without Him. they are terrible and i am not good for my kids. i so much have a heart for my kids to see the Lord in genuine, true ways in our home so they can't say that we lived double lives. the Lord knows that if i worked or didn't have kids, it would be harder to keep my tied to Him. Im thankful i do have more time in this season than others to pray and be in His word, i know it won't always be that way.
as for those who are busy and sacrifice more to give Him the little they do have, i am sure that He loves that! He loves first fruits though too.

Josh Tate said...

Love those insights, Desiree! I was not suggesting that a worshiper give anything less than first fruits. I was just reframing the offering in the language of worship. First fruits is not a sometimes thing. It is the very stuff of worship- I was just trying to speak of our worship as a thing of great value especially when it is costly and sacrificial.

Marlene Rini said...

I love this post! I confess sometimes going to God with the thought of checking Him off of my do do list! (I hate admitting that, it is so off)

Josh Tate said...

Thanks, Marlene! I think we all have that experience. The things of the Spirit are always opposed by the old man and the flesh. Sometimes it is hard and uphill to enter into personal Bible study and prayer, but it is still worship even when we feel dry as sticks. Adding God to a to-do list is also worship in that it speaks of His importance to you. We step out in obedience, acting on volition until the heart catches up, and all the while pleading for the Spirit to break in. I often have that experience.