Part 3 of a series. See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
Honor the Lord with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
– Proverbs 3:9-10 (NKJV)
Take a look at how you spend an average week. Who gets the best of you? I’m not asking who gets the most of you—the most time, the most attention. Your family and work likely get that. But who gets the best of you?
– Mark Buchanan, Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul
Take Home 3: Give God the best of your time – or even a portion of it.
How else can we seek Christ when we have very little time? Several years ago, I read Mark Buchanan’s excellent Spiritual Rhythm, and came across this great concept: giving God the best of you. We may not always be able to give the biggest percentage of our time to prayer or meditation. Giving ourselves to work or family or church community in the right way can also be giving ourselves to God. But we may be able to give the best of our attention directly to God, to honor Him with the moments that we’re freshest, most engaged, or most attentive.
For me, giving God my best usually means giving God the first few moments of the work day. That’s when I’m most alert and excited, and most likely to notice new ideas, come alive with excitement, and grow. It’s a temptation to use that time for work, to start writing something other than prayers immediately and capture that freshest moment of the day. But I’m seeking to use that moment to read some Scripture and journal a prayer. When I do, my life with God grows, and the amazing thing is that it tends to grow even if the amount of time I spend is small. Like giving God the first fruits of agricultural produce or money, the amount of time I give may be small, but the choice to do it at my best time of the day is a symbolic gesture that affirms my trust and love for Him.
Often, when I do that, God also blesses me with a great start to the workday after my prayers. But either way, giving Him the first fruits of my day is a way to affirm that He is the most important being in my life, the one I want to worship with everything I do that day.
The timing of that may vary for different people. Some people are most alert at the beginning of the day, others at midday, and others (including many grad students!) at 11 pm or after. What this means for you may be different than what it means for your friends and colleagues. Or it may be correlated to something other than time of day—to how you respond when good news energizes you, for instance. Do you instantly dive in on extra work, or do you take a moment to thank God? Whatever it means to give God the best of you, ask Him for grace to do it today.
What would it mean to give God the best of me today, the first fruits of my time and energy?
Oh Lord, Be the one I worship. Let the way I order my days and the decisions I make put You first. Let me give You the best of my time and myself. Amen.
Buchanan, Mark (2010-08-24). Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul (Kindle Locations 4123-4124). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. Hard Copy Edition: Time-In Exercise 11.
Photo courtesy of jill111 at Pixabay.com
Note: Part of both the Scholar’s Compass series and a series on Finding Christ When You’re Busy. Part 3. See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
About the author:
Dr. Hannah Eagleson loves building the ecosystem Christian scholars need to flourish and create positive impacts, in the university and beyond. She is Associate Director of InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network, a digital first ministry serving thousands of early career Christian scholars. Dr. Eagleson launched the ESN student/early career track at the American Scientific Affiliation annual faith and science conference. She is the editor of *Science and Faith: Student Questions Explored* (Hendrickson, 2019), and the one-semester guidebook *Scholar’s Compass: Connecting Faith & Work for Academics* (InterVarsity Emerging Scholars Network, 2021), with design by noted liturgical artist Ned Bustard. She also launched the Scholar's Compass online devotional series in her previous role as ESN Editor. Dr. Eagleson holds an MA from St. John’s College (Annapolis, MD) and a PhD in Renaissance literature from the University of Delaware.
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