The way many of us live relegates God to an afterthought. After we’ve done everything we want to do, spend money on things we want to buy, and talk to the people with whom we want to speak, then we are ready to communicate with God. We owe God the firstfruits of all our offerings (Nehemiah 10:35-37). This implies we also owe Him a tithe on our time. He should get the best of our time, not the leftovers.
To me, this means beginning each day with God. To not begin the day with God is a recipe for disaster. I see how He rejected Cain’s offering but accepted Abel’s (Genesis 4:3-5). I don’t want to insult God with the time I give to Him. It needs to be my very best, and it needs to be the first I have to offer.
I’ve heard and read many discussions about spending time with God. Most recommend setting aside time first thing in the morning, but almost all then caveat that advice with, “but choose the time that works best for you.” I used to subscribe to that teaching, but I can’t buy it anymore. Why should it be okay to offer God whatever works best or is most convenient for us? We’re talking about our Creator, the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God of the Universe. How can we suppose Him to be at our convenience or beck and call? This should be ludicrous to us. It ought to be revolting.
Who are we to expect God to wait until we’re ready to sit and talk with Him? If we somehow think this is acceptable, we certainly cannot understand or respect who He is! What an unfathomable privilege we have to speak with our Lord! The opportunity should have us leaping from our beds excited for our time with Him. As Keith Green once poignantly wrote, “Jesus rose from the grave, and you can’t even get out of bed!”
I’ve heard the arguments before, “I’m not a morning person”, or “it would never work with my schedule”. I’m not a morning person either. At least I wasn’t in the past. These days I get up about an hour after I used to go to bed. I was a quintessential night owl. It was only when I realized what my actions said about how I viewed God that I decided to do something about it. I realized God not only deserved the first of my money, but also the first of my time. A day spent without God as my first priority is a day wasted, and I don’t have any days to waste!
I understand work schedules can make getting up early problematic, but one thing I know for certain is you will wake up and begin your day at some point. It doesn’t matter what time you get up as long as the first thing you do is spend dedicated time with God. If you work all night and get up at 3:00 in the afternoon, try getting up at 2:30 and spending that first half-hour with God. If you will be persistent and serious about giving God the first of your time, you will not regret it. In fact, you will find it becomes an obsession and something you can’t live without.