(My weekly column in our church newsletter is called "When You Stop a & Think About It." What follows is this week's column.)
A friend and I were discussing some movies we had seen recently when another friend standing with us chimed in to say, “You two must have a lot more free time on your hands than I do since you have time to watch so many movies.” I responded, “How did the Braves do last night?” He said, “They won!” I asked, “How often do you watch the Braves?” He proudly replied, “I never miss a game!” I didn’t do the math for him but, if I watched two movies a week I invested around five hours in them while if he watched six Braves games a week he invested about twenty hours in them.
Of course, I really couldn’t say much since on those nights when I wasn’t watching a movie I was probably watching the Braves, too; I respected my friend’s devotion to the Braves. The difference between us was defined by his belief that my watching movies was a waste of time.
Priorities and choices—so much of life is about priorities and choices. The truth is that, while some things are thrust upon us, we all in large part do what we want to do. We choose what is important and we give our time and energy to those things.
While every Christian must, with the help of the Holy Spirit, figure out for herself exactly what her discipleship should look like, we can name some elements that can and should characterize all of our lives.
One element that should characterize our lives is prayer. The longer I live the more I value the practice of prayer. How much time do we spend opening our lives up to God, who wants to commune with us, in prayer? How much time do we give to developing our relationship with God?
Another element is worship. Worshiping God along with other members of the Body of Christ is to me akin to eating a meal with other hungry people. Do we prioritize corporate worship?
Yet another necessary element of the Christian life is service. The greatest commandment, Jesus said, is to love the Lord our God with everything we are while the second is to love our neighbor as we love our self. To love our neighbor is to serve our neighbor in whatever ways we can. We are called by our Savior especially to serve those who are the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized. How much of our time and other resources do we invest in helping others?
This Sunday morning we’ll think together about another important element of the Christian life that I suspect most of us neglect: solitude.
When you stop and think about it, we do what we want to do. What do our lives reveal about what we truly value in our lives?