Today I had a random thought. Christmas is only 10 weeks away. This past year I participated in a 40 Acts activity…so for the 40 days of Lent I did 1 “random” act of kindness. This time around I decided that while we approach Christmas instead of doing a different action every day, I would focus on a key theme every week. Since I’m not going through a program, but making it up myself as I go along, I thought I’d share my reflections here in case it encourages or invites anyone else to participate :). I will post up my challenge for myself (and for all of you) every Sunday if anyone wants to join me and take part in it.
SUNDAY CHALLENGE: IT ONLY TAKES 15 MINUTES
What is the very first thing you do in the morning and the very last thing you do before going to bed? If you’re like me (and like most North Americans) chances are your answer is that you check your cell phone. It’s incredible how in recent years cell phone technology has really taken off. I remember not getting my first cell until I was 18 and went off to Bible College. Back then I had one of those cheap, flip phones where it took a gazillion years to send a 20 word text message, half the time I forgot it in my room when going for a walk. Today I have internet, games, and exercise apps on my phone and I can’t live without it. Sometimes it even becomes easy to be distracted when I should be focussed on the people I am spending time with.
Listen, this post isn’t meant to bemoan the use of modern day technology (although that would make me a good little Mennonite girl in a stereotypical black dress). Phones are incredibly useful for a number of things: for finding your way if you’re lost, for social networking, catching up on the news, and practicing Spanish…but it did get me thinking: if I were as addicted to my Bible as I am to my phone, what kind of amazing revolution would take place in my life? Now imagine if every Christian Worldwide were to set aside their phone for just 15 minutes a day and pick up a Bible instead, what kind of revival would we see in our hearts, our nation, and our world?
Why 15 minutes, you ask? The answer is simple. If you read the Bible for 15 minutes every day, you will be able to finish the entire book in 1 year!
I remember when I first heard this news. I was at an evangelical young adults gathering called “One Thing.” Back then, I was 22 and honestly had such a hit-or-miss relationship with my Bible. There were days I read it, but most of the time I didn’t. I blamed all sorts of things:that I was too tired, had already read a ton of chapters for homework, or that Leviticus was bogging me down. The preacher challenged us to make it our goal to read Scriptures daily starting with just 15 minutes. This completely altered my life!
Think about all the ways that you kill time during your day. Playing Candy Crush, mindlessly scrolling Facebook, watching pointless YouTube videos or googling pictures of cats and Donald Trump. Even if you consider yourself a quite serious person, I’m sure you still waste plenty of time doing other things that are not a heavenly investment. I’m not saying that you can never enjoy those things…but think about it. If you have time to play Pokemon Go, I’m pretty sure you have time to read a chapter or two from Scripture.
If you’re a serious Christian, you might think “come on, just 15 minutes?!? That’s hardly anything!” And you’d be right. When I first started my 15 minute challenge, it was a good motivator because I knew I wouldn’t lose my concentration in such a short amount of time and that I’d always have 15 minutes to spare. But soon (after about a month) I found that I could easily spend 30 or 45 minutes or even 1 hour in the Word and not get tired of it. The 15 minutes is just a starting point to get you in the habit of reading… if you aren’t already there.
It’s really easy for us to let other people do the difficult work for us. You might look at a close Christian friend or mentor and say “I wish I had that kind of faith.” You know how you get that faith? Not only by passively going to church to listen to a sermon (although that’s important) and not just because of your heritage or being born into a Christian family…but by your own personal study of the Word of God and your own personal time spent with Him getting to know Him in prayer and worship.
So this week, my challenge to you is find 15 minutes every day to set aside time for God. Give those 15 minutes to Him and let Him use them to transform your life in anyway He would like. Maybe He will use those minutes to really challenge and convict you, or maybe He will simply use that time to be a still presence in your life and speak a word of hope or encouragement. Whatever happens, don’t underestimate those 15 minutes.
Read anything you’d like: Psalms, Romans, Matthew, or even Leviticus or Song of Solomon. Whatever God has laid on your heart to read this week…there’s a reason for it. Trust Him on it.
And at the end of the week, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell me all about how these 15 minutes have changed your life. HAPPY READING!