Killing Two Birds with One Stone

November 12, 2008
I’ve never been great at having ‘quiet time.’ Personal Bible study and prayer have always been a weakness. Actually, for most of my life, I have honestly detested quiet time as a fixed part of my day. It’s always felt like being a little kid sitting in front of a plate of beans for hours until I finally shove them down my throat so I can go play videogames. That makes me feel like a terrible Christian, a thought that keeps me fixated motionless in guilt for hours each day…sometimes.

This is what quiet time feels like…It gives me gas.

So when I went to seminary, I thought I had hit the jackpot.

Because I could go to class, and hear or read something really smart, then work it into my sermon on Sunday, and everyone would say, “Aw, isn’t that great? Matt must have read a book. He’s so learned!” And at the same time, I didn’t have to do any personal study. I could just count class as my ‘quiet time.’ Win, win.

That didn’t work out so well. Turns out, sitting through a lecture is a poor substitute for conversing with the living God. Just like people going to church and listening to me on Sunday is a poor substitute for prayer on Monday.

Substituting what we know God wants for what we want has always been popular. People convince themselves that ‘worshipping’ while cutting through wakes on waterskis is now a legitimate substitute for gathering with and being encouraged by the body of believers in church. People tell themselves that their lifestyle evangelism completely rules out their need to talk about Jesus with people. How many people have been converted just by standing next to you? Yeah, me too. Zero. And I do truly wish that worked. People delude themselves, believing that ‘giving from the heart’ covers their butts so they can be cheap with God. Since I’m almost done with seminary and won’t be able to take advantage of that excuse, I can substitute blog writing for quiet time. Awesome!

I’m curious what others substitute for quiet time.