Like many, I’ve been wrestling with setting boundaries due to working from home. For those that have been doing this before our lives changed, my guess is there’s less adjustment for them, even though we’re all in uncharted waters. Indeed, part of me wants to be super productive, not just in my work life (in my case, pastoring), but with other things as well. The shed that needs cleaning out. Trimming those overgrown bushes- you get the idea. But another voice says those things can wait- use the time for doing what’s truly important.
Now, while it’s debatable as to what’s important to some and not important to others, let’s talk about the non-negotiable items. In fact, there are two: God and family. For those who don’t have households with family members, call it “others,” as in, God and others.
Use this time to invest in others.
It may seem obvious to some, but husbands and wives, moms and dads, get to know your families again. Have conversations, play games, play outside in the yard. Remember, these are the most important relationships we have, next to the one we have with the Lord.
Use this time to check your own relationship with God.
In fact, if your relationship with God has left more to be desired, know it will be that much harder to connect with others, whether family, neighbor or friend.
If our spirits are depleted of oxygen, how can we give it to others?
Using one of my favorite analogies to make my point, just before take-off in an airplane, the flight attendant will go through the standard safety rules. One is, in the event of cabin decompression, the oxygen masks will fall in front of every passenger. The attendant always tells us to secure our own masks before we help our children or a fellow passenger in need of assistance. In other words, you cannot give what you yourself do not possess. So what does this have to do with our current situation of being home? Plenty.
We must take in the life-giving oxygen of God’s Word!
Like oxygen, there’s never a time we don’t need it- that is, the fuel of the Holy Scriptures. For those who haven’t been able to keep a steady diet of Bible intake due to hectic work schedules and non-stop activities, leave that in the past. Now is the time!
Of all the Spiritual Disciplines (Prayer, Fasting, Worship, Serving— just to name a few), according to Donald Whitney in his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, “None is more important than the intake of God’s Word. There is simply no healthy Christian life apart from a steady diet of the milk and the meat of the Word.” It is the Word where God’s very heart is revealed to us. The things important to God are clearly revealed in His Word. It is how we know Him! It is also where He will reveal things to us about ourselves: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”
(Hebrews 4:12) As we go deeper with our Lord through His Word, we gain an even fuller grasp of just how needy we and broken we are. But we are also at once enlivened by His plan for our lives and how much He loves us (John 3:16). In fact, everything He does- especially dying for us, is because He loves us to the utmost (John 13:1). So, I say again, if you have been less than regular with your time in the Word, now is the time!
Here are a few practical tips to help with that:
- Find a regular place to read and meet with the Lord.
- Equip your “place” with a Bible, something to write in and a pen.
- Remove any distractions, phones, etc. This is an appointment with the Lord!
- Pray before, after and even during the time you read. Ask God to help you apply His truth to your life!
- Plan on keeping this routine even after we all go back to work. Some new habits are worth keeping!
Then go bless your family and others with your full tank! Amen!
Pastor Joe Garofalo