Every day is a gift and each one has the same amount of time: 24 hours…1,440 minutes…86,400 seconds. Yet most of us find ourselves saying something like: “If only I had more time.” We feel so busy and overwhelmed by all we have to do.
It seems as if being busy is a sign of success in our culture. Even as Christians we fall into the trap of over-scheduling and over-committing ourselves. And it has a devastating impact on our marriages. We never seem to have time for each other as a couple, much less for God.
So what are we to do? As always, we are to look to God and His Word for the answer.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29
Last week we began a study of some specific ways God reveals about how we can use our time to serve Him and grow in our walk with Him as a couple. We looked at how we—as husband and wife–must be committed to the same purpose for our marriage if we are going to use our time well together.
This week we look at a second truth from God’s Word to help us become good stewards of the time He has given us. This truth will help us make certain we are one in Christ and committed to the same purpose—His purpose. And it all starts with Jesus.
In light of how busy life seems, we need to make time to come to Jesus and find our rest in Him.
Real rest only comes when we turn our lives over to Him. He promises in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
As we strive to use our time wisely, we want to serve and be productive for Christ. In order to do this we must make time to rest or we will be too tired to serve Him well. God knows this about us. He made us in His image (see Genesis 1:26-27). And He rested when His work on creation was complete (see Genesis 2:2).
This is why as part of His ten commandments we find a call for us to rest. Exodus 20:8-11 says: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
God tells us that we need both physical and spiritual rest. He provides this commandment so we will make time for this rest. As we take time to be with God, we can hear from Him. This is the only way we can serve Him and others well.
It is vital that we retreat from the busy world at times so we can be ready to engage our culture for Christ. Jesus left an example of this for us. We read early in Jesus’ public ministry in Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” This was Jesus’ practice throughout His ministry. If Jesus needed this time, then we certainly do also.
Psalm 46:10 says: “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” We need to spend time being alone with God, exalting Him on the throne of our hearts. We must be still to do this, away from the hustle and bustle of the world. We must retreat from our fallen culture to be with our exalted Father. Then He can tell us how best to serve Him with our time and empower us to reach out to our fallen world.
School is quickly coming to the end for this year. Summer is right around the corner and many of us are making vacation plans. Why? Because we know we need a break–some time away, time to retreat, regroup and refresh.
God wants us to use some of our time to rest. He set an example for us by resting on the seventh day, and He commands us to do the same. Jesus Himself exemplified this for us.
In this culture that seems to grow more chaotic by the moment, every couple needs to commit to the biblical discipline of daily solitude with God. We also need a regular time together as a couple, and a weekly Sabbath.
I also recommend you take time every so often–maybe once a year–and have a spiritual retreat as a couple. This is can be a day or perhaps a weekend. It is a time when you get alone together as a couple with God. Spend time praying together, studying God’s Word together, and talking together. Seek God’s direction for your lives and service to Him together.
This spiritual couple’s retreat is a way to make certain you answer the question from God that He asks in Amos 3:3: “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” As you seek God together and agree on how He is directing you, you will be able to walk together as one.
And have some fun together during this retreat. I can assure you spending time together, enjoying each other as God intends, will not waste the time He’s given you.
Now, a retreat does not mean you have to go to a fancy resort or spend a lot of money doing something extravagant. Like Sabra and me, many of you cannot afford to do so. But if you have children, maybe you can ask their grandparents or someone else to watch them, and then spend the weekend at home alone. Go out to eat and do some inexpensive or free activities. The idea is be alone with each other and the Lord enjoying each other and seeking His plan for your marriage.
This follows Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Here Jesus tells us that when we seek Him together about everything, He will provide for our every need. And this certainly includes revealing His will for our lives in marriage.
Questions for Discussion
♦ Read this week’s teaching together. What did God teach you through it?
♦ Read over the worksheet “One Day Couple’s Retreat.” Look at your calendars and begin planning a retreat with just the two of you. This will be a great way for you to use the time God has given you. It will strengthen your marriage. It will also help assure you use God’s time more productively in the future.
♦ Close your time in prayer asking God to help you use the time He gives you this week in a way that pleases and honors Him.
Next week we will discuss more of what God has to say about using our time together as a couple for Him.
Until then, may He bless you in all His wonderful ways,
Other posts in the TIME & MARRIAGE series:
Part 1 – Five Years Ago…Five Years Ahead
Part 2 – One in Purpose
Part 4 – Making Time to Love and Serve
Part 5 – The Value of Waiting
Part 6 – How to Wait Well
Part 7 – Strong to the End
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.