By Joel Comiskey, An Appointment with the King
I’ve been coaching pastors for the last 20 years. Normally, pastors want me to coach them because they desire to improve their small group ministry, whether they are transitioning, planting, or just want to fine-tune their groups. They soon discover, however, that my coaching involves more than small groups. I ask questions about their marriage, day off, and devotional time.
Why? Because small group ministry is about making disciples who make disciples, and the first disciple is the pastor. The spiritual and physical health of the lead pastor is essential for effective ministry to happen. Of course the same is true for team members, leaders, and supervisors.
When asking about the quiet time, I’m always thrilled when the pastor gives me a clear, consistent answer about spending time with Jesus. Why? Because Jesus meets us in the quiet time, fills us, and prepares us for the day. The quiet time is like pushing a reset button and starting over. No matter what has happened beforehand, Jesus gives us new strength, vision, and anointing when we spend time with him. Jesus said, “Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Yesterday’s blessing and anointing won’t prepare you to face today’s cares, trials, and heartaches. We need fresh nourishment from Jesus today.
I confess that I didn’t always believe in the importance of making my quiet time a daily activity. At times when I was too busy, I’d say, “I’m too busy today, God, I’ll do extra devotions tomorrow.” I didn’t realize how much I would need fresh nourishment today—as well as tomorrow.
We don’t have our quiet time in order to be acceptable before God. The truth is that Jesus has already made us holy and righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). The message of the Protestant reformation is that we are made righteous by Jesus Christ and not by good works. The quiet time, therefore, is a response to His love. Because Jesus loves us and has made us righteous by His blood, we desire to spend time with Him and know Him more intimately. We long to be with Him—not because we have to, but because we want to.
Tozer, a spiritual leader of the twentieth century, says, “We pursue God because and only because He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to pursuit.” God’s grace births a desire in us to spend time with him. We simply respond to His love and desire to enter His presence.
When we realize how desperately we need God’s fullness, we will want to take time to spend with Him each day. The reality, however, is that finding that time won’t be easy. The hymn Take Time to Be Holy expresses the hardest thing in spending time with God. We will most likely never find time; we will have to take it from the other demands that crowd and press on us.