Cater to the spir­i­tual side

The Covington News - - Religion -

Well, an­other Christ­mas has come and gone. I hope yours was a merry one.

When I was a child, the time be­tween Christ­mases seemed in­ter­minable; to­day, it seems like we no sooner fin­ish one Christ­mas than the next one is upon us. Alvin Tofler was right when he ob­served, “Time skips by at an ever ac­cel­er­at­ing pace.”

This year Christ­mas snuck up on me. It seemed that one minute it was a dis­tant thought and the next I found my­self scram­bling to get all my Christ­mas shop­ping done on time. Sound fa­mil­iar?

We all make prom­ises that next year we are not go­ing to pro­cras­ti­nate. We have ev­ery good in­ten­tion of keep­ing that prom­ise, then the re­al­ity of the time skip­ping by at that ac­cel­er­at­ing pace hits us, and once again we find our­selves in a scram­ble to get ready for Christ­mas on time. Frankly, some­times the hol­i­days are more stress­ful than they are en­joy­able. Worse, in that process the true mean­ing of Christ­mas, if not com­pletely lost to us, is shoved into a small cor­ner of re­mem­brance and all but ig­nored.

All of this got me think­ing how easy it is for us to pro­cras­ti­nate about the most im­por­tant area of our lives — the spir­i­tual area. In an age of in­creas­ing med­i­cal aware­ness, few of us ne­glect the phys­i­cal as­pect of our lives. The amount spent on gym mem­ber­ships and in the cos­metic in­dus­try con­firms this ob­ser­va­tion. Very few peo­ple ne­glect the so­cial area of their lives. I am amazed at the num­ber of peo­ple I ob­serve eat­ing out with friends in a strug­gling econ­omy, but this seems to be a pri­or­ity for many. Men­tally, most try to stay sharp. But when it comes to the spir­i­tual area of our lives, like the true mean­ing of Christ­mas, this vi­tal area of life gets shoved into the cor­ner of our busy lives and vir­tu­ally ig­nored. Many rec­og­nize the im­por­tance of the spir­i­tual side of life; they just don’t plan for it.

Solomon wrote, “Young man, it’s won­der­ful to be young! En­joy ev­ery minute of it! Do all you want to; take in ev­ery­thing, but re­al­ize that you must ac­count to God for ev­ery­thing you do. So ban­ish grief and pain, but re­mem­ber that youth, with a whole life be­fore it, can make se­ri­ous mis­takes. Don’t let the ex­cite­ment of be­ing young cause you to for­get about your Cre­ator. Honor him in your youth be­fore the evil years come — when you’ll no longer en­joy liv­ing,” (Ec­cle­si­astes 11:912:1, The Liv­ing Bi­ble).

A good friend of mine, Jim Thurston is fond of say­ing, “It is never too soon to ac­cept Christ, but at any mo­ment it could be too late.” As a pas­tor I some­times find my­self coun­sel­ing peo­ple who have ne­glected the spir­i­tual side of their lives and now are liv­ing with the re­grets of that de­ci­sion. It wasn’t that they were against church; it’s just that it wasn’t pri­or­ity for them and be­cause it wasn’t pri­or­ity for them, their chil­dren now have ab­so­lutely no in­ter­est in spir­i­tual things.

As we ap­proach the New Year, let’s re­mem­ber how quickly time gets away from us. Let’s re­mem­ber good in­ten­tions do not make for real change. In all my years in min­istry, I have yet to meet a per­son who said that their only re­gret in life was that they didn’t spend more time at the of­fice, but I have met plenty who said they re­gret­ted not spending more time with their fam­i­lies. I have yet to find any­one who has stated that they re­gret­ted not hav­ing more recre­ational time, but I have met plenty who said they have re­gret­ted their ne­glect of the spir­i­tual side of life.

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