At some point during my college career, I was getting to know this young lady. She was interesting, smart, beautiful and most importantly, God fearing. While we were indulge in the “talking” phase of our friendship, she surprisingly made a huge accusation that I did not care about her. On a side note, the “talking” phase is the phase when two people interested in each other, decide to get to know one another exclusively, with hopes of dating in the near future.
My friend’s accusation bothered me, so I sat her down to ask her how and why she came to the specific conclusion that I did not care about her. I was startled because even though I was preoccupied with school projects, campus activities, hobbies and personal projects, I did my best to spend some time with her whenever I had the chance; but apparently, it wasn’t enough. She blatantly told me that I did not care simply because I did not spend “quality time” with her. Once again, I was confused, because whenever I was not busy doing what I wanted to do, I did spend time with her. We debated about this for about an hour and came to the conclusion that it would be best for us to stop “talking” and just stay as friends because we were simply not on the same page. I did not understand her and she did not understand me. She felt as though I was not giving her a significant portion of my time and I felt she was just unappreciative and very ungrateful.
5 years later, I realize I was wrong and she was right. 5 years later, I understand what she meant by “quality time”. 5 years later, I realize I did not really care about her. Yes, I did spend time with her, I did talk to her but I was just going through the motions and did not really care.
This is the same reason why I say that I do not care about God. Being brought up in a Christian home, going to Church has become part of me. Whenever I am not in Church on any given Sunday, I feel uncomfortable. I try to influence my generation with the love of God and even though I am born again Christian, I realized I did not really care about God. I came to this conclusion yesterday during Youth Service when we talked about building a personal relationship with God. I realized “I was chasing after the wind” and not chasing after God. I was chasing after my aspirations, my goals and my dreams while leaving God on the back burner. I was going about my business but not my Father’s business. (Luke 2:49)
With regards to quality time, sometimes, my female friend wanted me to sacrifice some of my hobbies for her, but I was not willing to budge. I sometimes canceled already planned and scheduled time with her because something less relevant came up – of course she was definitely not happy whenever I did this. My priorities were out of “whack” and my sense of “priority assessment” was at an all-time low. What she meant by quality time was giving her the best of my time instead of my “leftovers”. I can’t help but think that this is how God feels about me currently. I am not giving Him the best of my time. I am giving him what is leftover and what is less important. I am simply not investing in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
During the weekdays, I wake up in the morning, shower, get dressed, sometimes eat breakfast and spend 30 seconds on my knees to pray. I usually spend time volunteering after work, work out by playing soccer or running and by the time I get home, I am tired and ready for bed. Sometimes, I grab my laptop, work on my personal projects and by the time I decide to read my Bible and pray, I would be fast asleep. Over the weekend, I support my community and friends by attending events or clean my apartment. On Sundays, I go to Church in the morning, watch football in the afternoon and go to Youth Service in the evening. I come back home, watch a show or two, work a little more and once again, make an attempt to spend time with God by reading the Bible and praying – it’s always end up in an epic fail. As you can tell, the constant theme in my schedule is Work, Volunteering, Events, Hobbies, Church and Projects. While all of this is good, they can be meaningless if I do not develop a personal relationship with God. Christ should be my cornerstone, the backbone and the center of my life. No wonder Jesus said “not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord” will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21). I was not only saying “Lord, Lord”, but I was yelling “Lord, Lord”.
As I was thinking about my personal relationship with God this morning, I could not help but think of Cain and Abel. Cain and Able both offered sacrifices to God but Abel’s was accepted and Cain’s was rejected. Abel’s offering was most likely accepted because “he brought to God the fat portions from some of the first born of his flock” (Genesis 4:4). I asked myself, am I giving God the best portion of my time or am I giving him the “leftovers”. Am I spending quality time with Him in prayer and studying the word?
My female friend felt I was not giving her my best of time and she was not happy with the “leftovers”. My words told her that she was important to me, but my actions were the direct opposite. Yes, I was busy and I had a lot do to, but if I was going to include her in my life as a special person, then I had to make sure she was getting the best of my time and not my leftovers. I had to make sure she was being treated like a priority and not an option. She was available but wanted to feel important and it was my responsibility to device a plan to help accomplish this. She was really not asking for much. Even though she knew I was busy, she cared for me enough to be there for me, gave me the best of her time while I gave her the worst of mine. It was not fair to her and it is something I am not proud of.
I’m definitely not trying to compare this girl to God, because God’s loves and care simply can’t be compared. I’m only trying to draw your attention to something that we can all relate to, so at a very high level, you can understand why we can sometimes sing all the right hymns, know all of the right verses, but fail to invest a decent amount of our time in building a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Christians. God is not asking for much. He wants our best time so we can continue to grow in Him and through Him. God is always going to be available and God is always going to care for us and most importantly, love us unconditionally. He is always going to chase after us but are we going to chase after Him? Do we care enough to put certain things aside in order to build a healthy relationship with him? Do we care enough to make Him the center of our lives? Do we care enough to make him a priority in our lives?
As my Youth Pastor said yesterday, our relationship with God should be personal but it shouldn’t be private. The moment you make the decision to invest in your relationship with God and build upon your personal relationship with Him, you should not make it private, but rather, allow the love, grace and peace of Christ to flow through you at your job, at your Church, at events and whenever you volunteer – this is when you become the Salt and Light of the world. This is when God can use you to make a positive impact in this generation and beyond.
I don’t care about God based on my actions currently, but I am willing and ready to change that. Even though Christianity is not ALL ABOUT the “works”, it is imperative that we make the conscious effort to juxtapose our deeds, actions and work with our faith. Faith without works might be dead, but faith coupled with works is full of life – a life given to us by Christ through the medium of Grace on the Cross.