The last I checked, there are still only 24 hours in a day. God set this up when He created the heavens and the earth, and it is our job to accomplish the things He calls us to do within those 24 hours. The problem is that life seems to get quicker every day. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day to do the things we need to do.

When we have time, we feel the need to fill it with something else. Although “something else” may not have even been on our radar moments earlier, once it pops into our head it suddenly joins the list of urgent things that must get done. Any down time is viewed as time wasted.

I was in my mid-twenties and working for a graphic arts company in downtown Chicago. With a wife and two kids at home, I believe the more overtime I worked, the better I could provide for them. In the month of November, I worked every day, averaging almost 80 hours a week, not including the roughly twelve hours spent traveling back and forth to work every week. I hadn’t seen sunlight in over a month because there were no windows in my office area. I was exhausted, I missed my family, and I just didn’t see any light on the horizon.

I don’t remember the exact day in December, but I remember waking up one morning with a pain in my lower right side. I was very busy and just didn’t have time to get it checked. So I did what most people do: I ignored it. Unfortunately, ignoring it became more and more challenging. One Sunday I had the day off and decided to go Christmas shopping with my wife. I was miserable, but the stubborn side of me pressed on. That night my wife had enough and checked my temperature – over 104 degrees Farenheit. She rushed me to the hospital, where I was quickly diagnosed with appendicitis. It had gotten so bad that I had to spend a week in the hospital. The doctor at one point told my wife that if I had waited even one more day it could have been fatal.

I ignored rest and failed to listen to what God was trying to tell me. I believe this was God’s way of saying “okay, you don’t want to listen, then I’m going to make you listen.” It was during that week that I felt God’s healing and guiding hand upon me. It wasn’t an overnight fix, but in time I was able to make some adjustments and eventually find a job that allowed me to work a regular work week and finally spend time with those I loved most – God and my family.

The result of our desire to go, go, go and never rest can be debilitating to our relationship with God. If we neglect our time alone with God, we will fail to hear God’s direction for our lives. We begin to forget who we are, what truly matters, and how God would have us glorify Him.

In Matthew 6:25-34, we are told not to worry about life and that our heavenly Father will look after us if we “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness”.

I believe many feel they can still do it all, including maintaining a healthy relationship with God; we just need to be efficient with our time. Now, I for one am enamored with efficiency, but there is a major difference between being efficient and being a good steward of time. When we are efficient we can get much done with the time we have, allowing us to check more off our to-do List. When we are good stewards, we have a healthy attitude about our time. We understand our relationship with God is a priority and that rest and relaxation are vital in living a healthy life that best brings glory to God.

We can feed the hungry, provide for those less fortunate, and care for the widows and orphans, but if we don’t make time to foster our relationship with God and spend quality time with friends and family, then we will be unable to best serve Him in the way He has called us.

Mark Etting

Author Mark Etting

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