The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.—Proverbs 21:5
In a fast paced world where we often try to see how many things we can “multi-task” at a time, it’s easy to forget the importance of spending real quality time with those we want to see grow spiritually.
There are many aspects to this, and I think all of them are important, I’m going to simply mention a few from a missionary/pastor point of view.
- We need to remember to never get too busy to spend quality time alone with God. It seems elementary, but if every Christian did that, there would be very few broken homes and hearts.
- We need to make time for our spouses outside of the logistics of keeping the bills paid, kids fed and activities attended. Purposefully set aside blocks of time to simply express your love and commitment.
- Spend time playing with your children while you still can. A few hours ago as I write this, I was preparing to leave on a short trip with some men of the church (more on that in a moment). With only an hour before I had to walk out the door, my three boys begged to play a game together. My wife helped me pack quickly so we could sit down and play a table game before I left. It was really a lot of fun and a good reminder to me of how sometimes just a little bit of quality time goes a long way.
- We also need to spend quality time with the people with whom we are trying to minister. Last night after church, we had a young couple come over and eat with us and then we had some counseling time with them. What a joy to see them grow spiritually. This morning we hosted a national pastor’s meeting and had 20 pastors and their wives, come over to our house for a time of fellowship and encouragement. Then we had a time where our senior high students invited all of the school staff to a special thank you party they had prepared for us, and as part of that, they shared the biggest lessons they have learned. Not surprisingly they were most impacted by different people taking time for them.
As I write this I’m sitting on a bus with a group of guys from our church driving late into the night to go to a men’s meeting in Honduras. The time spent together making memories and even having some great one-on-one talks is helpful and strengthens relationships. Some view going to a conference like this as time consuming, I’m seeing it as quality time with these future leaders.
I once heard an expression down here in Central America referring to Americans that makes a lot of sense, and changed how I do ministry. The saying goes like this, “Every American has a watch, but none of them have any time.”
As the pressures of accomplishing more pile upon you, take the time to purposefully spend some non-rushed time with the people who are important in your life. The benefits are long-lasting and worthwhile.