Throughout May our Round Tables have been discussing the need to spend intentional time with the Lord in order to advance our businesses as healthy leaders who are seeking to have an eternal impact, attuned to the guidance of the Spirit. How has being more intentional to spend time with God impacted your business?
Throughout the Gospels, after long hours of ministering to people, Jesus’s disciples expected and sometimes urged, him to continue to attend to the crowds of people who were gathering. Keep healing, keep delivering people of evil spirits, keep multiplying loaves. Instead, Jesus went off to quiet places to be alone with God, to connect and commune with the Father (Matt. 14:23, Mark 1:35-37, Mark 6:46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 6:12).
When the world tells us that humans determine the outcome, we will keep pushing ourselves to produce, to do whatever it takes, to be what the success of our company is hinged on. But Jesus’s inclination to turn to the Father suggests that his work and outcomes depend on God. In fact, in John 5:19 Jesus says, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” Jesus also taught his disciples to respond to the busyness of their work in a similar fashion.
When the disciples were telling Jesus about how busy they had been meeting the needs of the people who came to them, and continued to come, Jesus didn’t tell them to keep going until everyone was served. Jesus invited them to get away with him and rest (Mark 6:30-31). And just like Jesus could only do what he saw the Father doing, He told the disciples in John 15:5, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”
If Jesus needed to turn to God to know what to do and to refresh himself, how much more do we need the same?
If we truly believe our work is the Lord’s, how can we be confident we are doing what He desires for us and our businesses without regularly talking to Him about it and listening for what He has to say?
But people are counting on us to make decisions, show up to meetings, and handle crises. How do we practically set aside time to commune with God, and what will that mean for our business?
Setting aside time to intentionally connect with God will require us to say no to some things. And that might feel difficult. Maybe it means saying no to breakfast or lunch meetings, keeping the block on your calendar even though your team members continue to request to meet during that time, no longer working on the weekends, or delegating to a capable team member when something urgent pops up as you were planning to step away for a couple of hours.
Ultimately, we must trust that God is going to care for our businesses while we’re with Him and that our “no’s” are allowing us to be available to say a worthwhile “yes” to God’s invitation.
In turn, we show Jesus that we take him at his word when he says we can do nothing apart from him.
Though you might have to say no to some things, making time to connect with God doesn’t mean you need to figure out how to be less busy first. In fact, staying connected with God may increase your capacity for work. The difference is you are working from an overflow of God’s presence leading, guiding, and refreshing your spirit instead of feeling overwhelmed and burnt out from doing things out of your own strength. In Paul Miller’s book, “A Praying Life,” he says,
“Learning to pray doesn’t offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart. In the midst of outer busyness, we can develop an inner quiet. Because we are less hectic on the inside, we have a greater capacity to love…and thus to be busy, which in turn drives us even more into a life of prayer. By spending time with our Father in prayer, we integrate our lives with his, with what he is doing in us. Our lives become more coherent. They feel calmer, more ordered, even in the midst of confusion and pressure.”
Are you looking to the Father to see what He’s doing?
Our busyness should drive us back to contemplation with the Lord so we can continue to have a high capacity to serve and love. Without a solid connection back to God, our busyness often just feels chaotic and anxiety-ridden. When you start to feel fatigued and burnt out, ask yourself if you’re operating out of your own strength or out of dependence on God. Are you looking to the Father to see what He’s doing? Because apart from Him we can do nothing.
Maybe it starts with 15 minutes of finding a quiet place for contemplation with the Lord. Over the next few months, add additional increments of time. It’s ok to ween yourself and your team into this. There’s no formula for how to implement this or what it will look like for you going forward; that’s between you and God, and it will look differently for everyone. Maybe you need a room where you can shut yourself away with some soft music. Or maybe you enjoy getting out in nature and feel more connected to God in His creation. Some may prefer space to be completely still while others prefer to go for a walk, journal, or paint while they talk with and listen to God. We’re all wired differently, so find how you best focus and connect with the Lord.
I often hear people say they’re bad at quiet time with God because their mind wanders to all they have going on. But is that really such a bad thing? Use it as an opportunity to turn anxious thoughts into prayers and talk to God about those things. Maybe that’s just the way you need to spend your quiet time with Lord at times.
The beautiful thing about spending time with God is that we can always come as we are with whatever is on our hearts and minds. He wants to be part of it all.
Setting aside time for rest with the Lord is countercultural in the business world. It defies expectations to hustle, work long hours, and prioritize success no matter the cost. However, it shows our team that we don’t believe in working ourselves into the ground and that we are working for something bigger than money and our own glory. We also have an opportunity to model to our families – to our children – that God is our source who can be trusted, and everything is in His hands. So, let’s put our work in His hands and rest in Him, because apart from Him we can do nothing.