Jesus recognized the value of purposeful down time, when he could escape the crowds, press pause on the profound teachings and performance of miracles, and simply draw strength from quietly spending time with God. After a long day of healing the sick that was capped off with the feeding of more than 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus dismissed not only the crowds that had gathered but also his closest disciples. Only then was he able to go up the mountainside by himself to pray in communion with God the Father. Jesus tells us that he would only do what the Father told him to do, and only say what the Father told him to say, so there was always a state of constant communication. However, this was different. This was time without distraction, the sort of time for deep and thorough refreshing unhindered by the regular demands of the day.
We all need this sort of time where we can purposefully step back from the regular demands of life. For us here on our little island, January is the best time to do that, as it is the slowest month of the year in terms of tourists. Farmers have the natural flow of seasons to determine when it is a time to sow, a time to reap, and a time to recuperate and plan for the next year. We have the flow of tourists, and the colder weather of January combined with the end of the holiday season means that this is the time when we can step back and remove ourselves from the demands that we face for the majority of the year. Some businesses simply close down, some scale way back, but nearly all shift into a different mode for at least a few weeks.
This time is a gift to us – a gift that we are free to use, and are equally free to squander. Some need to use nearly every moment of this down time simply recharging batteries that had drained completely over the previous months. Some need to spend time repairing equipment and rethinking strategies for the upcoming year. All need to find time for deep and quiet reflection, because those are the times when God speaks to us, revealing how we can grow from past events and make the most of opportunities to come. We need to find time to be quiet, for the purpose of hearing what is normally obscured by the noise of our daily lives.
When was the last time that you purposefully blocked out some time to be still in communion with the Lord? Turning off the electronics, tuning out the demands of daily life, and giving yourself time to simply be in the presence of God? It is hard to serve Him if we won’t first seek Him, and if it has been a while since you really spent time with Him, you might be surprised by what He has to say to you. So, make some time to purposefully be still and spend time with your Creator.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron