I’ve been reading the “Life of Faith,” the Narratives of George Mueller. One of the things that I noticed from him is that when he spent relatively short (for him) amounts of time in Bible study and prayer, he noted a difference in his day in his journals. It made a significant difference to him. He noted that it changed how he acted towards other people, and it made the depth of faith that characterized his life harder to sustain. For Mueller, he was talking about spending half an hour as opposed to two to four hours in Bible reading, meditating on the word, and prayer. When he was ill once he prayed for a chair so he could face it while kneeling in prayer. I was fairly chagrined, in my reading, to consider my 15 minutes of sacrifice that has characterized most of my adult quiet time.
I have read a few times recently in 2 Timothy 3. In the second half of that chapter Paul reminds Timothy about following his example and teaching, about being grounded in the Word and in the knowledge that was passed to him from Paul. He encourages Timothy to continue in the things he had learned and was confident about. All of these things take learning, and learning takes time and effort.
I am reminded in reading about how Timothy had known the Scriptures “from infancy,” how grateful I am for Christian parents, who read to me and taught me the Scriptures, and showed me what a life committed to God looks like. Now with my kids, I look forward with hope and some concern for their futures, as they face all of the choices that are open to them, especially in our culture that fits all too well Paul’s description of the last days in the earlier part of 2 Timothy 3. I wish I was a better model. I also work at grounding them in the Word, as I was as a child. I can’t make their choices for them, but I can equip them to make those choices. Some day maybe they’ll be reading 2 Timothy 3 and think about how they too have known the Word from infancy, and how it has made a difference in their lives, as it has to me, and as it did to Timothy.
All of this is a challenge to me to kick it up a few notches. I have not pursued God enough. Can we ever? In my parenting, in my marriage, in my ministry, in my friendships, in my life, all will be better if I seek first after God, as my first priority. That takes some serious time and effort. Not that the real transformation is a result of my effort, but preparing and pursuing God certainly is my choice and my commitment.