Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28)
In the mid-1800s, Americans fled to the West in droves in search of gold and a better life. But according to The Emigrant’s Guide to California published in 1849, it was the gold-rushers who rested most—specifically by observing the Sabbath—that reached their destination the quickest. As the guide shares, “Those who [laid] by on the Sabbath, resting themselves and their teams,” reached gold country “20 days sooner than those who traveled seven days a week.”
The gold rushers’ example illustrates a fascinating paradox: Oftentimes rest is the most productive thing we can do.
And not just Sabbath rest! As the scientific community now understands, bi-hourly breaks throughout the workday and an eight-hour “sleep opportunity” every night are...
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)
Now more than ever, our world offers the illusion that we can be fully present in more than one place at a time. But it’s just that—an illusion. You know how I know? Because we’re not God and even when God himself came to earth in human form, he traded in his godly omnipresence for the human unipresence you and I experience today.
Like us today, Jesus had to deal with frequent distractions that competed for his attention. A man threw himself at Jesus’s feet as he was walking (see Mark...
Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come. (Mark 1:38)
When you study the gospel biographies trying to understand how Jesus stewarded his time, one glaring truth jumps off the pages: Jesus was crazy purposeful. In the words of the great Dorothy Sayers, “Under all his gentleness there is a purpose harder than steel.” Nobody in Jerusalem had more things competing for their attention, and yet Jesus always seemed to be able to discern the essential from the noise.
No passage of Scripture illustrates this better than Mark 1:29-38. After driving out some evil spirits at the synagogue, Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law and a bunch of her neighbors. Understandably, the town’s residents wanted more of Jesus the next day. But Jesus said no. Why? Because he had already committed his time to a bigger yes. In response to the people’s request for more of his time, Jesus said, “Let...
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)
Now more than ever, we are living in what C.S. Lewis’s devil Screwtape called “the Kingdom of Noise.” And I’m not just referring to the obvious increase in external noise created by nonstop news, entertainment, and the buzzing of the devices in our pockets and purses. I’m primarily referring to what all that external noise creates—namely internal noise that blocks our ability to be silent and reflective.
Our lack of solitude stands in stark contrast to the way of Jesus. The number of times the gospels mention Jesus withdrawing to “a solitary place” is staggering. In the third gospel alone, Luke mentions Jesus’s love of “lonely places” three times in just one and a half chapters (see Luke 4:42, 5:15,...
“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)
Why is it that the worst songs are some of the hardest to get out of our heads? Is it because they’re uniquely catchy? That might be part of it. But there’s actually a scientific answer to this question.
Dr. Roy Baumeister explains that if you “listen to a randomly chosen song and shut it off halfway through…the song is likely to run through your mind at odd intervals. If you get to the end of the song, the mind checks it off, so to speak. If you stop it in the middle, however, the mind treats the song as unfinished business….And that’s why this kind of ear worm is so often an awful tune rather than a pleasant one. We’re more likely to turn off the bad one in midsong, so it’s the one that returns to haunt us.”
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35)
“I’m swamped.” I’ve said it, you’ve said it, we’ve all said it at one overwhelmed point or another.
The Bible tells us that Jesus’s disciples were once “swamped” in a different way. As they sailed across the Sea of Galilee “a squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger” (Luke 8:23). You know the rest of the story: Jesus “got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm” (Luke 8:24).
This passage perfectly illustrates the core premise of this devotional series—namely that the solution to the disciples being swamped by the wind and waves is the exact same solution to our being swamped by our to-do lists and hurried schedules. The solution is found in...
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
I ended last week’s devotional with a question: If the gospel compels us to “redeem our time” (see Ephesians 5:16), where can we look for practical wisdom as to how to manage our time well?
That question brings us to the fifth and final truth of this series: By studying the life of Christ, we can know how God would manage his time.
I know, this is a wild idea, so give me a minute to unpack it.
John 1:14 tells us that God, the author of time, “became flesh” in the person of Jesus Christ. During his time on earth, Jesus was 100% God and 100% man, meaning that he experienced the same day-to-day challenges as other mortals. He had a business to run, a mother and father to care for, hunger to manage, and the need for sleep. Oh yeah, and he faced the same twenty-four-hour time...
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Over the past few weeks, we’ve explored three biblical truths about time and productivity:
But here’s the thing: Even though God doesn’t need us to be productive (see Truth #3), we often need ourselves to be productive in order to feel a sense of self-worth.
So before we go any further, I want you to stop and let this truth sink in: The gospel frees us from the need to be productive.
The good news of the gospel is that “while we were...
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more….And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:1, 5)
Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen that 1) our longing for timelessness is good and God-given, but that 2) sin has ensured we will all die with “unfinished symphonies.”
Where’s the hope? Our hope is found in Jesus Christ walking out of the tomb that first Easter morning with a redeemed body that could not be destroyed again. The resurrection was Jesus’s way of declaring that our longing for immortality has been right all along and that through him, we too can experience eternal life.
But Easter wasn’t just the beginning of eternal life. Easter marked the inauguration of God’s eternal kingdom...
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)
We’re in a series exploring 5 biblical truths about time and productivity. Last week, we saw Truth #1: That our longing for timelessness is good and God-given. Today’s passage reveals Truth #2: That while we still long for timelessness, sin has ensured we will all die with unfinished work.
When sin entered the world, death was ushered in alongside it. Human beings, who were created to be immortal, became mortal. Work, which was...