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Monday, April 9, 2012

Just One Hour with Jesus

A friend of mine suggested a Bible reading plan for the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, in which we would read through the last few chapters of the gospel of Matthew, covering Christ's entry into Jerusalem, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. I thought it was a good idea, but quickly things got in the way (maybe things that weren't really high priorities), and I didn't stick with it.

So, when I found myself sitting up to read the last five chapters of the plan after 2 a.m. on Easter morning, I was feeling pretty guilty.  The guilt sliced deeper when I came to Matthew 26: 40 (NIV), when Jesus said to His snoozing friends, “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?”

Translation: What would it take to get just one hour of your time?

The God of the universe should not be reduced to begging for one hour of my time.  That's just ludicrous!  Even worse, God should not be pushed to the very end of the schedule and forgotten because I'm too tired, or too stressed, or too preoccupied to give Him any attention.

It is to Jesus' credit that He puts up with neglect on this scale from me. I'm blessed to have Him in my life, but too often I fail to reciprocate even the least of His kindnesses. He gives me 24 hours every day, but in my arrogance and selfish focus, I catch myself accepting that gift as an entitlement and not as a blessing. Not even one hour of 24?  How stingy is that?

It came down to asking God to forgive me for taking Him for granted, especially on the anniversary of His gift of salvation. I'm thankful that He does forgive!

Jesus chided the apostles in Gethsemane for not taking Him seriously, not for being sleepy after a long day. He was asking them for something they could afford to give Him, not something unreasonable or impossible.  They had one last chance to spend time with Him, but they took it for granted. I'm sure they regretted wasting that last hour for the rest of their lives.

I'm not trying to propose heavy and burdensome rules and standards for devotional time.  I'm talking about an attitude problem that is common to both regimented and unscheduled Christians, which condescends to "fit God in" to our lives and doesn't make Him the center. God knows we are busy, but He also knows when we're using that as an excuse to put Him off.  So, the key is to give God our attention when we know He's asking for it.

Obviously, I'm not speaking as one who has conquered this issue, but rather as a hypocrite who knows better than what I'm doing. I'm just trying to pass on what God has been saying to me lately. If you have an answer to this problem, please leave tips in the comments section, or blog about it and link back to this post. Thanks for reading!