[Today’s devotion on spending time with God is a part of the Weekend Word devotional series. Come back every Saturday for fresh insight from God’s Word, or follow my blog via email or WordPress to get them sent straight to your inbox.]
Today’s Scripture: 15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16, NIV)
This saying may be a familiar one to you: “You can’t give out of an empty cup.”
While teaching on the importance of spending time with God, I used that illustration. As I poured water out of the cup, I explained that we only have so much we can give. We can only help others so much, work so hard, give so freely until our cup is empty.
What do we do if we want to give more? We need to fill the cup.
How do we fill the cup? We spend time with God. Letting the kids brainstorm some ways we can do this, we came up with some answers I think we’re all familiar with: read the Bible, pray, go to church, etc. As we named those things, I poured some water from a pitcher to fill our no-longer-empty cup.
This is an idea many of us have heard several times before. We know we need to spend time with God. We know we need to rest. This isn’t a new revelation.
Why talk about it then?
We talk about it because even though we know it’s the truth, it’s easy for us to forget.
Life gets busy. It gets hectic. Situations spiral out of our control. We give and give and give of ourselves until we can’t anymore. We forget to stop, quiet our souls, and work on our relationship with God.
Or, like a child who quickly wolfs down his dinner to get back to playing his game, we may practice spiritual growth but don’t soak it in. We quickly read our devotionals before stepping right back into our hastily-moving lives.
I’m guilty of this myself. Maybe you can echo my sentiment.
Jesus’ ministry got busy. He was performing miracles., He was preaching thought-provoking and soul-moving sermons. He was healing the blind, the lame, the sick, and the lepers.
And the news spread quickly. Multitudes of people were coming out to see Him.
Instead of speeding up, Jesus retreated. He withdrew into the wilderness to pray. He spent quality time with His Father away from all the noise.
That’s the key here: spending quality time. It’s not about checking all the “good Christian” boxes. It’s not about how long you read the Bible, how many times you went to church, or how early you got up to pray.
It’s about building a quality relationship with the creator and lover of your soul.
Taking this time to work on your own relationship with God often means you have to say no to some demands of life. You may feel that you have less time to help others. Because of this, guilt can easily set it.
When that happens, tell yourself again: “You can’t give from an empty cup.”
Jesus took the time out from His ministry to recharge. It’s okay if you do it, too.
After I showed the kids the illustration of pouring water from the pitcher into the cup, the pitcher was noticeably getting emptier and emptier.
Unveiling a large tub of water, I explained that God’s pitcher never gets empty. He’s a well we can draw from again and again.
Your cup never needs to stay empty.
Today’s Thoughts: Have you recently had quality time with God? What can you do each day, each week, and each month to refill your cup? How would setting aside time to build your relationship with God change your life, your work, and/or your ministry?