Church business is busy. Kingdom busy-ness can be overwhelming. Sermons and classes. Emails and texts and blogs. Counseling. Programs and people and prayers and planning. Reports and committees and meetings and talks in the foyer. Hospital visits.
Ministry is never-ending. I never once get home at the end of the day and feel like I accomplished every thing I had intended. It doesn’t stop.
And I have to be very, very, very careful to maintain my focus. I have to be disciplined. Deliberate. I must continually guard against being driven and motivated by people’s expectations and my own sense of worth. I have to be driven and motivated by the Holy Spirit of God who resides inside me. I must be moved by my Father’s love for me, by his plans for me. It’s bigger than me. It’s higher than me. I can’t be directed by what I want to do. I must be directed by what God wants me to do.
Romano Guardini (1885-1968), a long-time professor of philosophy and theology at the University of Munich, wrote about this focused-following in his book Power and Responsibility:
“All around us we see activity, organization, operations of every possible type; but what directs them? An inwardness no longer really at home within itself: which thinks, judges, acts from the surface, guided by mere intellect, utility, and the impulses of power, property, and pleasure.
Man’s depths must be reawakened. His life must again include times, his day moments of stillness in which he collects himself, spreads out before his heart the problems which have stirred him during the day. In a word, man must learn again to meditate and to pray.”
It’s said that John Wesley spent the first five minutes of every single waking hour deliberately reflecting on the hour just passed — what opportunity did God give me, did I respond in a Christ-like manner, what should I have done differently to better reflect his glory?
Spending the first hour of every morning in Scripture and prayer, communing with our Triune God in holy relationship, is the most important thing I do. It reawakens my depths. It compels me to spread my heart out to my Father in confession and dependence. It convicts me. It challenges me. It reminds me that I’m not in any of this for myself. Not even for my family or my church. Not even for others. Not as much as I’m in it for the God who calls me and saves me and equips me to join him in redeeming the world.