Number 26 November 18, 2002
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
First Things, First
by Jack Northart
If you were to ask many Christians if they spend much time reading the Bible, the answer heard might be, "I don't have enough spare-time," or "I am way to busy to be able to spend time reading the Bible!" It's puzzling that being able to spend time in God's Word is considered by these people as a "spare-time" pursuit.
Matthew 22: 35-38
Then one of the, which was a lawyer, asked him [Jesus Christ] a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy mind, This is the first and great commandment.
"Spare-time" is a term that is usually associated with nothing better to do. How many people consider eating food a "spare-time" activity? Or what about our jobs; do we consider them something we do in our spare-time? So the next question is, how do we put God first if we are half-heartedly considering the value that we put on His Word?
II Timothy 2:15
Study [Greek word, spoudazo] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
The Greek word spoudazo, means to diligently put forth the effort. It would be hard to put "spare-time" and diligently putting forth the effort in the same sentence. But isn't that what so many Christians try to do? They may feel that their time in church each week is their holy obligation to the Lord, therefore, why should they have to do more than that? They feel that the minister does his job putting forth the effort, why should they have to do more? Well, the answer is that they don't have to do more. It's not obligation listed in Matthew 22, but rather LOVE.
Why not love God with our whole hearts, our whole souls, our whole minds, and as Luke 10:27 adds, all our strength? The time some people spend in front of the television or reading the newspaper, or anything else that we consider half way important, could really be devoted to a more diligent study life of God's Word.
Colossians 3: 23,24
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
I once saw a show about the training habits of a professional football player in the NFL. This man was diligent about his sport. Even in the off-season, he would get out of bed at 4:30am and run for one hour. Then come home and study his play book for one hour. Then he would eat a very strict high-protein meal, then head for the gym to lift weights for three hours. Then he would take over 25 different vitamins and supplements, drink a protein shake, then spend one hour in a hyperbolic, oxygen chamber to super saturate his body with oxygen. Then he would take a nap, get up and eat a high-energy, high-protein meal for supper. Then he would hard for 30 minutes before going to bed at 8pm. This he did six days a week!
If a person can be that committed and devoted to a sport, as impressive as that is, why can't we be committed as Christians? Can we get to the point of the verse in Colossians of "…whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord?" Perhaps spending some time each day just reading the Bible could be a beginning. Try 10 minutes. Then try 15, then 20, then 30. Before you know it, your life will take on a new glow as you put on the thoughts of God's Word in whatever you do.
Of course you can do whatever you want in your spare-time. And you should enjoy whatever it might be. But let's give God his rightful place in our lives. Let's put first things, first in our hearts.
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