The Best Investment

“and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.”

Acts 17:25 (NLT)

Time spent with God is never wasted, its an investment with huge benefits. When I consider that Jesus does in fact satisfy every need a story comes to mind that was told of a man who died and went to heaven. Once there, an angel took him on a tour to explore his new, eternal home. The man saw incredible things of wonder and beauty. Eventually he came to an expansive warehouse that extended as far as the eye could see. When he looked inside, it he noticed it was filled pallets of boxes of all shapes and sizes from floor to ceiling and each box had the same sticker on the outside that read: "NAF." There were billions of boxes, more than he could possibly count. Curious, the man asked the angel, “What are all those boxes doing here in this warehouse?" "Oh," said the angel, "these are the many gifts God desired to give to you and His children throughout the ages, but see those stickers on every box? 'NAF' stands for 'Never Asked For.'" The angel went on to say, “Those boxes are filled with the answers to prayers that were never prayed.”

James 4:2 is most likely the basis for the story above as James writes, “You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” Have you ever thought or said, “I’m just too busy to pray.” I think most of us would answer that with a ‘yes’, as often times life seems to keep us so busy we find little or no time for quality prayer. Can you recall the last time you spent a significant amount of time alone with God?

“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” we read in this exchange between Jesus and Peter in Mark 14:32-40 (NLT). Mark recounts the event, “They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say.”

“And they didn’t know what to say” slay me every time I read them. Even though the dialogue was between Jesus and Peter, I am convicted and saddened because I know more times than not it could just as well be me who Jesus was speaking too. Convicted as I have used the excuse many times, “I’m just too tired to pray” when in reality I am just too lazy, period. Seriously, no one was more busy than Jesus when He walked this earth and who had every reason to be tired and yet prayer is what He did most of all and for good reason. Prayer wasn’t a chore or a duty for Jesus, prayer was a relationship He enjoyed with His Father, it was time where Jesus could be alone with His Dad and where He Himself could cast all His cares. (1 Peter 5:7).

We all make time for what is important in our lives, tired or not. If you can relate to this, don’t let the conviction of your lack of prayer keep you from God, let the conviction of God’s Spirit regarding your prayer life cause you to run to God. The disciples came to understand that Jesus prayer life was His source of power and pleasure when He walked the earth and is why they asked Him, “Lord teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). After all, is there really anything that is more important in each of our lives that should keep us from spending meaningful time alone with God? Each of us will answer that question today by the choices we make. My prayer for me and you is we choose Jesus!

Think of all the things you need to do today and ask yourself, “will what I do today matter, say ten, fifteen, twenty-five, fifty or even one hundred years from now? Don’t let life get you so busy that you invest your best effort and energy into things that won’t make a difference in the long haul and leave you too tired to spend time seeking the very one who graciously gives us the breath we need to live today. Remember, prayer changes everything, especially the people who pray! Don’t forget, prayer is never wasted when it’s spent enjoying the presence of God. It's an investment with benefits and blessings in this life and the life to come!  

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”

Psalm 16:11 (NLT)


Michael Osthimer





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