Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Time Out!

The following is an inspirational article I wrote for my column in this week's _The Paris News_. It is also for a devotional I'm doing tonight. They are videotaping me doing this speech, which will then be aired at halftime for each Upward Basketball game at our church this week. I think there are about 8 games total, and about 1,000 people attend the games each weekend. As much as I like to speak, it is a little nervewracking!


"Mister, I need to GO," whined Jimmy as he tugged on the ref's pant-leg.

"Okay, go tell your coach, and he can call a time out for your team," said the referee.

"No, Mister, I need to go NOW!" pleaded Jimmy.

What could the ref do, but send Jimmy to the restroom, while calling a time out. They were only second grade, don't you know!

There are times when we all need to take a time out. Sometimes, it is a gradual building up of pressure that indicates we need to take a break. Other times, it is an urgent warning that we need to stop everything right NOW and take a time out!

A story is told of a man and woman who challenged each other to split wood for 8 hours, and at the end of the time, see who had the largest woodpile. Every hour, the woman took a break, but the man cut wood the entire time, thinking the extra time would amount to a larger pile of wood. To him, it was such an easy victory.

But when the eight hours was up, there was only one obvious winner. The woman's woodpile was much larger. The man asked, "How can this be? I worked the entire time, while you took a break every hour."

The woman responded, "I used that time to sharpen the ax!"

I dare say, each of us needs to take time to sharpen our proverbial axes. What should we do, when we take a break from our everyday busyness? First, think of the word break spelled as BRAKE-stop what you are doing-put the brakes on. It is amazing what happens when we slow down. The inner quietness allows us to hear God's still small voice more clearly, and we can meditate on His Word. We should seek a relationship with Him through prayer and reading the Bible. Through Him we can find the peace that we can't seem to find anywhere else. We can choose to relax, to allow our physical and emotional well-being to rejuvenate and reenergize. As one commercial so aptly put it, "Calgon take me away!"

The Bible sets up a time for spiritual renewal. In the Old Testament that time was called the Sabbath. Christians set aside time for the Lord the first day of the week; on Sunday, also called the Lord's Day. This day commemorated the resurrection of Jesus at Easter. Unfortunately, because of our busy work weeks, Sunday becomes the only day to complete chores and errands, and it is no longer a day of rest.

Are you feeling an urgent need to leave the playing field of Life for a break? Just ask for a time out. It's not just for ball games or errant children. It can be ours today!

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