Ask a Pastor: Why have a quiet time?

Why have a quiet time? Why is a quiet time important and what do I miss out on if I don’t have one? These are two questions I’ve asked of several people recently. This week I want to highlight the answer given to me by Dr. Jack Hughes, who pastors Crossing Church Louisville. How does a pastor answer these questions?

Why have a quiet time?

Here’s how Pastor Jack Hughes answers that question:
Consider Luke 10:38-42 where there is an interesting little story about Mary and Martha of Bethany, sisters of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead. In the story Martha is frantically trying to prepare food for her many unexpected and important guests, while Mary her sister sits relaxed at Jesus’ feet, asking questions, and listening to Him teach. Martha is irritated about this, in fact she is exasperated to the point of sinful anger in her attempt to “serve the Lord.” Soon, she could take it no longer. She burst in, interrupted Jesus in the midst of his teaching session, accused Jesus of sinning, of not caring, and then commanded Jesus, to command Mary, to help her prepare food! Not one of Martha’s finest moments. Jesus then rebuked Martha with a rare but arresting double name, “Martha, Martha, you are bothered and worried about so many things!” And isn’t that how it is with all of us? Then Jesus says something amazing, “but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Lk. 10:42). What was Mary doing? She was sitting at Jesus’ feet, learning from Jesus, letting Jesus minister to and shepherd her soul.

Our soul needs Shepherding

This concept of shepherding the soul highlights an important point: We don’t naturally gravitate toward holiness. Dr. Hughes continues:
This is “the one thing necessary” to sit at Jesus’ feet every day, and let Jesus minister to and shepherd your soul. We do this when we have quiet times or devotions. We are needy, weak, and sinful. Jesus says that the one thing necessary is to let Him minister to you first, before anything else. When we spend time with the Lord, cast our burdens upon Him, pray to Him, thank Him, worship Him, He in turn strengthens us, helps us, and everything else in our life falls into place. This is why we need to spend time with the Lord, preferably every day, for it is, “the one thing necessary.”
If we want to grow a vibrant and healthy relationship with the Lord, we need to cultivate this

What do I miss out on?

I also asked Dr. Hughes “What we miss out on if we don’t have a quiet time?” Here’s his answer.
When we fail to spend time with the Lord we miss out on “the one thing necessary.” We don’t cast our burdens upon the Lord. We don’t let the Lord speak to us through His Word. We don’t ask Jesus to help and strengthen us for the day’s tasks. We act like practical atheists. Some wise person once said something to this effect, “He who fails to spend time with the Lord in the morning, will rarely find him the rest of the day.” That is a truth that life experience quickly teaches. We stay up to late watching TV, sleep in to the last minute, get ready for work, quickly eat breakfast as we thumb through texts, emails, or social media, then race off to work where the business of the day keeps our minds occupied and off the Lord and His Word. We fail to have communion with Jesus Christ all day long because we have neglected “the one thing necessary.” At the end of the day we are tired, mentally and/or physically exhausted, and though we may have good intentions to spend time with the Lord at night, activities, TV, social media, and many other distractions often keep us from spending time with the Lord.

What sort of habits are we cultivating?

Since we mold our heart by the things we do, the way we live on the outside determines the kind of life we live on the inside. Dr. Hughes makes this point strongly below.
If this kind of lifestyle becomes a habit, we are living, not like the children of God, but like the children of Satan. God is not first in our life. Though we may have good intentions, we are giving Him the dregs, rather than the first fruits of our day. But when we make it a habit of spending time with the Lord at the beginning of every day, no matter what, our mind is focused on God from the beginning of that day. We will think more about God, commune more with Jesus, and find His strength and blessing for not neglecting “the one thing necessary.”
Dr. Hughes’ is saying that if we have a desire to know God, we need to cultivate the habits that will facilitate this desire. If we don’t regularly set aside time to listen to and respond to the Lord, we miss out on a quality relationship with Him. For more by Dr. Hughes, check out his website, or his sermons on the Crossing Church website.
Why would your pastor say you should have a quiet time?
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