When we think of idols, the vision that usually comes to mind is some little bronze statue, or golden calf, or some sort of physical representation of a spiritual being other than the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. Really an idol as the Lord speaks of it is anything that we give a higher priority than God in our lives. For me, that idol is time. Everywhere in today’s society, we’re reminded how little time we have. Time is…money, fleeting, short, of the essence, a wastin’, running out…the list goes on. Finite and un-recoverable, there is no more precious resource than the hours, minutes, and seconds that make up each passing day. We all long to have control over how we spend our time. For me, that is why time is my idol. To have free time becomes priority one.
Before my daughter came along, it seemed like I had a lot more time. I could play video games, read, write, pray, do household projects and rarely feel rushed or have a sense that I was neglecting some important aspect of my life. Ever since I became a parent, it seems as if I have no time at all. Truth is, I have the same amount of time I had before I became a parent, it’s just that the activities and responsibilites that fill it have increased, seemingly exponentially. Prioritizing is more of a challenge than ever. Many times I find myself responding to my daughter’s requests with “just a minute” and often that minute turns into five, or ten. I look back and realize that usually whatever it was I was putting her off for wasn’t nearly as important as spending time with her. I was just trying to hold on to time, to make it mine and mine alone. As bad as I am with her in that regard, I’m a hundred times worse when it comes to time with the Lord. My kid might have to endure a five or ten minute delay before playing Barbies or hide and seek or whatever game she’s picked out for us. Jesus has to endure an entire day.
It’s especially poor form for a guy who chose Matthew 6:22 as his “life verse.” A brief history of my attempts at “Seek ye first:” I used to pray in the shower, but I didn’t think that was giving Him quality time. I used to pray in the car on the way to work, but I risked missing somthing funny the guys on the radio were talking about. So now once the TV’s off, the laptop’s set to hibernate, and sleeping clothes are on, then, finally, I hit my knees for a yawn-filled, half-conscious, spare change worth of time with my Lord. Quiet time? Sure. Quality time? Hardly. “Seek ye first?” The first shall be last, apparently. Time seemed more valuable doing something else, so Christ gets the leftovers. It’s an easy trap to fall into. Unlike my daughter, God doesn’t beg for us to spend time with Him. He wants us to, for sure. More than anything He longs to commune with us, but He never nags for it. What happens is the One we most need to spend time with becomes the One most easy to neglect. In this world today, where time seems scarce and obligations seem never-ending, more than ever the most critical time is the time we spend on our knees.
As for me, I’m going to ask Him to help me live up to my life verse’s admonition and let go of my idol, time, by offering it up to God. I’m pretty sure if I put Him first, there will be plenty of time for everything else.