Friendships are important to each of us. We have friends on many distinct levels, such as best friends, acquaintances, mutual friends, just friends, hanging out friends, and so many more. Friendships are built in many different ways. Often the more time we spend with someone the more we get to know them and share similarities and common interests. I have many friends who I spend many hours on the phone with because of distance and when we are in the same area, we spend even more time together. I am sure you can immediately think of friends you have like this; these friends seem to be the most important relationships in our lives.
The Lord has been speaking to me about these friendships. He has been talking with me about the importance of our time together and questioning whether the time I spend with him is sufficient to build a good relationship. It made me think even more – where is all my time spent?
I began to search through my schedule to see where I spend my time. In particular I noticed how much time I spend on my phone every week. I’m not sure I want to disclose that information to you, but I will because I want you to know we are not all that much different in some of these areas.
When I looked at my screen time report for last week (a full week) I see my time was down 24 percent from the previous week. The report also has a breakdown of how much time I spend on games, social media, and other categories such as financial/productivity, and travel. Here comes the horrible news about my screen time over the last week (just on my phone, this does not include television screen time).
The time on my phone was spent as follows:
- games-16 hours and 56 minutes,
- social-8 hours and 38 minutes,
- travel-4 hours and 19 minutes,
for a total of 44 hours and 51 minutes for a week of screen time. UGH! My average screen time per day was 6 hours and 24 minutes.
I surely could use my time more wisely than this. Right?
Keep in mind this is just screen time on my phone, it doesn’t include television or other busy work. I like to have a full plate of things to do because I get more accomplished during the day. But busyness can be a downfall for me at times, so I do have to be careful how much I take on.
Let’s shift gears just a little bit and think about time differently.
I began to think about how much time I give to the Lord, which was obviously not as much as my screen time.
Tithe is sometimes viewed as bad word. People do not like to hear sermons on “tithe” because often we think the preacher is just asking for more money. I’ve heard responses like, “they just want money and more money, when does it stop?” I have heard so many more comments about tithing and how people see it as a negative thing or obligation in our lives.
Did you know that the word tithe literally means “tenth?“ What is one tenth of one hundred? Not much. In fact, extraordinarily little.
Tithe is mentioned in the bible over a hundred times. The very first-time tithe is mentioned in the bible is Genesis 14:19-20,
And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
In this passage we see how Abram had given God a tenth of EVERYTHING not just financial/income.
We see in Leviticus 27:30-34 where tithe is introduced as law.
“Every tithe of the land, whether seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s: it is holy to the Lord. If a man wishes to redeem some of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it. And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman’s staff, shall be holy to the Lord. One hall not differentiate between good or bad, neither shall he make a substitute for it; and if he does substitute for it, then both it and the substitute shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.”
Here we see Moses giving the tithe as law. The first 10 percent is called “holy” or set apart, as belonging to God. If for some reason someone needed to “redeem’ or keep all or a portion of the goods he was to tithe, he could give money instead. However, the cash would need to be equal to the tithe’s value, plus an extra fifth. In other words, Israelites could give 10 percent in produce or 12 percent in cash.
I could go on with more scriptures about tithe throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament, but I am not here to share about tithe specifically, I want to talk about relationship and friendship.
Let us do a little bit of math for a moment. There are 24 hours in a day times 7 days equals 168 hours for the week. Let’s subtract the time we should sleep (I will give 8 hours, some of us get more and some get less) 8 hours a day times 7 days is 56 hours of sleep each week. Now let’s take the total hours in a week of 168 hours less 56 hours of sleep and we are left with 112 hours in a week divide that by 7 days and we have 16 hours a day available to us.
We each use those 16 hours in many different ways, such as work, hobbies, retirement activities, and so much more. Remember everything we do is as if we were working for the Lord, so that time is his as well (that is a whole different subject, so I will try and stay on track with where I am going). If we break down the 16 hours into minutes, then we have 960 minutes in the day.
How many of those 960 available daily minutes do you spend with the Lord?
I’m going to be honest again, I obviously spend way more time on my phone and less time with the Lord. I need to change my habits and thought process obviously. The Lord began to speak to me about my relationship with him and how I spend more time cultivating other friendships and relationships but do not spend enough time with Him. Ouch!! We are to give a tenth of everything we have to the Lord such as income, possessions, service, and time.
How many of you think that going to church on Sunday or pausing to pray for moments in the morning or in the evening is your time spent with the Lord? I’m not saying those activities aren’t good… but is it enough to build a solid relationship/friendship with the Lord? I think we need to spend additional time with the Lord.
Here is my challenge to you (and myself):
Take 10 percent of those 960 minutes during the day and spend it with the Lord. If you break it down it is only 1 hour and 36 minutes a day to spend with the Lord. I am not telling you to do it all at once and I am not going to tell you how to do it because we all build relationships differently. Take time to read your bible, pray, and just talk with the Lord for 1 hour and 36 minutes a day.
Truthfully, it will be hard to spend 1 hour and 36 minutes with the Lord because you aren’t used to it. It is like trying to pray for 10 minutes – – it can seem like an hour when barely two minutes have passed. Take small leaps at a time; start out with 30 minutes a day for a week and work up to the full 1 hour and 36 minutes. I don’t want you to become discouraged with your time with the Lord.
I encourage you to
- read your bible,
- journal if you enjoy that,
- write down your prayer request and record when the Lord answers your prayers,
- even take some quiet time to listen to the Lord. It’s hard to listen to anyone when it’s noisy or chaotic so find a quiet place or get up early.
Can you imagine how it would change you and your relationship with the Lord? You will find you have similarities, things in common, and you will have the same desires for your life because the Lord has become a much better friend.