He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” (Matthew 21:13)
Read: Exodus 12:14-13:16, Matthew 20:29-21:22, Psalm 25:16-22, Proverbs 6:12-15
Relate: I did it again this morning. My first alarm clock is the sound of a gentle flowing brook along with some harp music. It isn’t very loud and I am not supposed to wake up to it. Its purpose is to pull me from deep sleep to near consciousness. My second alarm goes off five minutes later. It is a very loud rendition of the theme song for Empire Strikes Back. Even when that first alarm doesn’t bring me right around, the second has me fully awake and aware enough in no time.
Unfortunately, that means my right thumb is on my phone sliding that yellow snooze to the left all too quickly. On a rough morning I will do this a couple times before groaning my way out of my bed. On a really rough morning I find myself sliding the red off to the right instead. This was one of those mornings.
The reason it happened was because I found myself playing Madden last night. I am not a fan of American football and I haven’t played the game in years but with the Super Bowl right around the corner, I got the urge. So I loaded it on my computer, created a new team (Besiktas Black Eagles), and played my way through two thirds of a season. That took me into the wee hours of the morning so when the alarm went off, I was not a happy camper.
Once I finally did get up, I did not have much time. It was one of those quick wash, quick brush, throw on some clothes and run out the door type of mornings. I missed my coffee and that makes me grumpy. I missed my breakfast and that makes me grumpier still. I also missed my morning devotions and that makes me a thief.
React: Jesus said, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” I don’t think the issue was so much the buying and selling of animals. I have heard all kinds of arguments and elaborations on this point and if you disagree with me, that’s fine. You have every right in the world to be wrong. 😉 Seriously, though, I think the issue was more where they were doing the buying and selling. It took place in what was supposed to be the court of gentiles. This was supposed to be where the non Jewish believers would come to worship God. Can you imagine the how difficult that would be to do with all the commotion going around them? Imagine going to the main entrance to your local mall during the weekend before Christmas. Put some worship music on but only wear one headphone. Now try having some prayer time right in the middle of all that hustle and bustle. Yes, it is possible but incredibly difficult. That is how I imagine these gentiles felt during passover.
In the new covenant, we the people of God are the temple of God. Are we houses of prayer? Am I? Not today I wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything implicitly wrong with playing a little Madden, or watching some innocuous TV show, or whatever your down time might be. After the week I’ve had, I needed a little down time. It is good and healthy to have a past time. The trouble comes when the past time begins to interfere with the prime time. My primary purpose as a follower of Christ is prayer. There is nothing more important that I, or any of us, can do. So when my late night impulse took me to the point I didn’t put my first thing first this morning, that was theft. I have been stealing time from God.
Dear God, more than anything I want to spend time with You. More than anything I want this temple, which is my body, to be known as a house of prayer. For those times I have stolen from You, please forgive me. For those moments I have slept away, or read away, or… forgive me. Help me to be alert and vigilant in those moments my hobbies begin to cross over into obsessions. Let my life, let my words, and let my time bring glory to You alone.
19 thoughts on “Stealing Time”
One of the things that I decided to do last year was to stop watching TV (a personal decision). I did so because I was spending hours each day in front of the television and it was distracting me from the things that really matter most in this lifetime. I haven’t looked back since. I think it’s important for us to view the time that we have here in this world as sacred time. We only have a limited quantity of it and we should maximize every moment we get. I actually write about the whole topic in my blog.
I occasionally download tv shows but have not owned a tv for years. Best decision made.
This was very timely–no pun intended! Thank you for sharing, for the reminder.
Reblogged this on and commented:
Here’s a reminder.
Beautiful, so beautiful
Tonight at worship the message was BE STILL and know I am God. Psalm 46:10. Your reflections remind me of this. Thank you for sharing. Amen
I appreciate your writing time. Thank you for sharing with us!
Just to say, thank you.
Sharing this on Twitter. As an addict, I know all about stealing time (and other things). My first addiction was video games. So yes, I know about staying up in the wee hours playing madden. Stealing time from God, my family and the world!! Thanks for the reminder, needed a reset!!
Your blog couldn’t have been posted at a better time for me. I appreciate your honesty & reminder for us all. When you find yourself enduring hard times, instead of worry & disdain, remember your core beliefs & lean on prayer. Not just in times of strife, but during the wondrous times as well. We have so much to be thankful for. Little blessings that most people overlook by getting caught up in meaningless frivolity like TV, gaming, etc. Your blog served as a reminder to me that I need not worry. I need to follow my heart, listen to God & pray my way through every day.
One of your best posts
Reblogged this on ChristianBlessings and commented:
Time and tide wait for no man. Time passing equals our life passing. We are accountable to God for our lives. Let’s not waste our lives on temporary things. Let us give priority to things eternal.
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.
Thank you, I didn’t steal any time today but tomorrow is another day and this reminder, this way of thinking is very helpful. Weak flesh but an awesome God full of mercy and preparation 🙂
Reblogged this on Shiny Thoughts and commented:
Once more with feeling because this message cannot be grounded firmly enough in our hearts.
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Loved the last para, meaningful post!
Love the post!
Great points! wow, makes you think!