Receiving Time

“To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

How is your emotional bank? Is it full? Is it a little on the low side? Are people making too many demands of you? Have you left enough time to meet your own emotional needs in the midst of your constant giving?

Recently, a woman met me about 15 minutes after the end of her son’s Sunday school lesson which I and my wife teach. After spending the majority of the previous hour or so with her son and other children, she asked me to spend a “little bit more time” with him so that he could try reciting his memory verse again. Now I don’t mind listening to memory verses, but the problem is that this was not the first time she had done this — expect me to give her time during a time designated as church time. You see, unlike her, my wife and I had not attended church yet, and the service was only 15 minutes away. And I had already spent a great deal of time with her son. I had listened to his memory verses. One of them he was not able to recite. As far as I was concerned, it was now time to receive. This was my “critical window of opportunity” in which I needed to just be with other Christians, saying hello, and letting the Holy Spirit do his work.

I said to her, “I’m sorry, I can’t spend any more time with your son right now.”

By her response, I know that my response suprised her.

“And why NOT?” she demanded.

“Because Sunday school class ends at 10:30,” I said in as calm a voice as I could, sensing that this woman did not want to “let me go”. “I have a family,” I continued.

The sense which I was trying to communicate was, “Look, I’m just like you. I’m not just a Sunday school teacher. I’m a person with real needs. I have a family. I have children. I need time. And now is not the right time for me to be listening to your son’s memory verse. He had the chance. And I’ll be glad to listen to it next week. No problem!”

But the woman was not satisfied with my answer.

It was a case, essentially, of not respecting my wishes — of not having heard what I just said to her about my family and all. Here she was still pressing me. And for what reason? So her son could get 3/3 instead of 2/3 memory verses correct.

“But he KNOWS his memory verse!” she continued.

“Well, he wasn’t able to recite it to me during the class,” I went on. “It’s no problem, really … I’ll be happy to hear it next week,” I stressed.

Somehow, there was a battle going on. It was more than physical. I was being spiritually challenged. My authority was being challenged. My word was being challenged. I said he didn’t know it. She said he did know it. I said I couldn’t do it now. She ignored my request and kept pressing me!

The woman turned and walked away, unhappy with my response. In apparent disregard for what I had just told her about my family, she then encountered my wife with whom she AGAIN asked if she would be willing to hear her son’s memory verse. Of course, my wife and I were not together at that point in time. My wife had left to attend to our baby in the nursery.

At any rate, she listened to the boy, as he attempted to recite his verse. But he was not able to do it.

Shortly afterwards, the woman then left the church building with her family.

You see, her day was done. She had worshipped during the previous adult worship service, during the time in which my wife and I were teaching her son!

Now teaching Sunday school can be very fun and rewarding. However, it does take energy. It is a “giving” type of job. When it is done, in all honesty, I think most teachers are glad to be able to attend an adult worship service. The worship service would help to recharge my spiritual batteries as it were … I needed that, so that I could “keep on keeping on” for the Lord!

Matthew 6:31 reads, “And he [Jesus] said unto them [his disciples], Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” This was a case when the disciples’ physical “batteries,” as it were, were a little run down! They needed to rest. They needed to get recharged. Emotionally, one can get run down, too. Worship services are a way to lift us up, spiritually, and emotionally.

The tendency of Jesus’s disciples was to always give. They needed Jesus’s word of encouragement in order to help them do something equally important: receiving physical strength through physical rest. In the same way, there are times that God expects us to spend recharging our emotional and spiritual batteries. There are windows of opportunity such as before and after worship service, for example, in which it can be critically important for us, as Christians, to meet and “interface” with other Christian believers. To be bogged down by someone who is putting a demand on your time when it is not the time to give can be counter-productive, to say the least.

You owe it to yourself, you owe it to others, and you owe it to God to take the time necessary in order to be refreshed. May God so grant us the wisdom to know when those times are, and the ability and the courage to put it into practice.