Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

God and Overtime ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

God and Overtime ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

Every sunday I have breakfast with a rugged ex-marine, whose heart is far softer than his blustery manner would suggest. He is a regular churchgoer and offers a ride to anyone who'll go along with him - after his breakfast.

The other day, I heard someone ask him how long his church service lasts. "About an hour," he said.

"Wow," said his questioner. "Ours is at least three hours!"

"I ain't givin' God no overtime," said my friend brusquely, yet with the faintest twinkle in his eye.

Then another voice chipped in: "But God takes care of you 24 hours a day. Should you be rationing your time with Him?"

That thought instantly brought a couple of Bible verses to mind: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might ... when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (Deut. 6:5, 7). And, "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17).

I realized with a smile that responding adequately to these calls would involve quite a bit of "overtime." Yet one could view this as a reciprocal 24-hour commitment. God is never off duty. As the Psalms confirm, "He that keepeth thee ... shall neither slumber nor sleep" (121:3, 4). He is totally committed to each one of His offspring, and the more we appreciate this, the more natural it is for us to give Him more of our time.

Life itself can be an act of worship, instead of just the hour or so that might be spent in church each week. We can worship God anywhere, anytime. I have worshiped with friends and family on mountaintops, deep in pine forests, beside gleaming lakes, and on the seashore, where Bible imagery comes readily to life. These are among the places where, trusting in God's predictable, loving care, we can ask God to take us and make us what He wants us to be every moment of the day.

Of course, there is much to be said for the discipline and order that come from attending worship services regularly. This can make it easier to silence the clamor and clutter of everyday life and truly "worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23). …

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