Tithing my time with God

Our time with the Lord is very precious and vital to our spiritual health. As His children, we all require daily time with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And because it's something that is essential to our spiritual  health, our enemy, the devil, works hard to keep us from it...any way he can. The devil either makes us too busy so that we forget how to be still and know He is God (Psalm 46:10) or he weighs us down with such guilt that we haven't spent "enough" time with the Lord, that even the time we have becomes ineffective and joyless. The enemy also deceives us into believing that there's a special formula, plan, or regimen we must follow if we want our time with the Lord to count. Which brings me to a question I am asked often: "How much time is enough time with God?"

During a phone conversation with a precious sister-friend a few months ago, she shared with me a burden she'd been feeling about "missing time with God". Here's a little excerpt of our conversation (used with permission).

Sunny: (smiling) Is God still your God, I mean, do you still have Him or did you lose Him somewhere? Do you still have fervent love for Him and are you still spending daily time with Him, living for His glory and pleasure alone?

Edie: (with great joy) Yes! I know God is always with me! And no, I haven't lost my fervency. And yes I'm still daily in the word...even throughout the day. But it's just not as much time as I used have and I feel guilty about that.

Sunny: So, if you still have God, you still have great love for Him, and are still seeking time with Him daily, what exactly is it that you're "missing"?

Edie: Oh, I hadn't thought about it that way. I guess nothing.

Sunny: You're not "missing" God, but because of your great love for Him, you're longing to spend more time with Him. Using the word "missing" gives us a sense of loss; something that's past and gone. It makes us feel sad or guilty. Whereas "longing" gives us a sense of  hope of spending more time with someone we are already intimately acquainted with, but for whatever circumstances that are out of our control for a season, we cannot spend as much as time as we once did.

Edie: Yes! That's it! I'm longing for Him, not missing Him...since He's always with me.

Sunny: Sweet sister, we all travel through different seasons of our lives -- even day to day living isn't always the same. There's no magic formula or exact calculation for how much time with God is enough time with God. If only God knows everything, then we must trust Him to tell us how much daily time we require. There are many Scriptures that give us guidelines on how much time we should spend with God and Psalms 1:1-3 and 92:1-2 are two examples.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others."
~Matthew 23:23-24

In this passage, our Lord Jesus mentions tithing mint, dill and cumin. All three spices are used for flavoring food and to make medicines. But as most of us know, different dishes require different amounts of spice. If you use too much, too little, or the wrong combination of any spice, instead of flavoring the food, we end up making it unpalatable.  The same directives apply to these spices being used for medicinal purposes. If they're not used in the correct proportions for a specific individual or in the incorrect combination, the spices will hurt the person rather than heal them.

We see here that though God made spices for a good purpose, if we aren't careful to seek His wisdom in using them, then what we offer will not bring flavor and healing to our lives or those around us, but instead, will bring distasteful and harmful results.

Since our Lord Jesus included these spices in his teaching, we know that it's important and purposeful. Jesus said, while tithing these spices were good and of significant value, without the "weightier matters": justice, mercy and faithfulness, their tithe had no meaning. Whatever we offer our glorious God (whether our money, time, service, etc.), it must be out of love for Him and not out of duty so that somehow we might feel good about ourselves because of our "works".

Jesus doesn't want us to follow the letter of the law (Romans 3:21-22), but know the heart of our God through faith in Him, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that we might understand His word and apply it to our lives according to His will and wisdom, not ours.

"Thus says the LORD: 'Let not the wise man boast about his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD."
~Jeremiah 9:23-24

So, how much time is enough time with God? The answer is simple: Ask God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. We all need daily time with Him. How much; is different for everyone.