July 19, 2021
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When we were raising our kids, a lot of the time their mother and I weren't quite sure of how we were doing. Were we giving them enough love in the ways they needed it? Were we giving them enough discipline? Were we giving them the right kind of discipline? Were we spending enough time with them? What do you do? Well, you pray! You do your best and you try to live by your priorities and then you wait to see what crop comes up years later. Now one of my particular challenges was to try to balance the extreme demands and busyness of my ministry with the kids' need for a dad, who wasn't a stranger or a visitor in their life. At one point our oldest son was reminiscing about some of his growing up, and by the way, he has a way of doing this. He really "bottom lined" it in a couple of sentences. Here's what he said: "I have two impressions of my childhood. First, my dad was busy a lot." I've got to tell you, my heart sank at that point, because I knew that was all too true. Then he said something that made me want to yell, "Thank You, Lord!" He said, "My dad was busy a lot, but secondly, my dad was with me a lot!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Rat Race and the Relationship."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Luke 5:15-16. Two little verses that define the amazing life and the unbending priorities of Jesus, "Yet the news about Him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear Him and he healed all of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Now here are crowds of people pursuing Him; He's surrounded by people pulling on Him about their needs. You're not Jesus, but maybe you know that feeling as a parent, or a worker, or someone in ministry or a caregiver. Jesus' days were wall-to-wall busy - again, something you might be able to identify with. But it says, "He often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Jesus simply would not allow himself to get so busy that He neglected His time alone with His Father. Yes, there was unfinished work to do, there were people to respond to, there were needs to be met, but He refused to sacrifice the relationship for the responsibilities.
Now, if your life is busy, then you know how hard it is to keep your time with God. I do. Frankly, for some of us, a full life has often left our Savior squeezed right out of the day's schedule, hasn't it? The result, you well know, is a growing hollowness in your soul. It's like an unexplainable sense of aloneness, and a growing sense of distance and coldness between you and the One who loves you more than anyone else in the world. Question: Don't you miss Him? He misses you. He's been showing up every day only to find that once again you didn't have time. You see, the responsibilities have squeezed out the relationship, and that relationship with Jesus is what your faith and life are really all about. Neglect the relationship and everything starts to unravel. It's the "well" from which all of life's resources are drawn. You neglect the well and you're going to be thirsty most of the time.
Hasn't the work crowded out the worship long enough? Make a new beginning today. If Jesus, who had more to accomplish in less time than you will ever have, insisted on His time with God, how can you do any less? Tell Him you're sorry for all those days that He's been crowded out, and covenant with Jesus that beginning today your time with Him will be the highest priority of your personal schedule, the non-negotiable of your schedule. If everything but one thing has to be canceled today, your time with Him will still be there. Jesus is the only thing you absolutely have to do, not because of duty but because of love. My son brought me great joy when he told me what our life together had been like. He said, "You were busy a lot but you were with me a lot!" I hope Jesus will be able to say that about me and about you.