Time spent in prayer is never wasted. Like the costly fragrant oil that a woman poured on Jesus' feet ... "Such a waste!" Judas said. But Jesus said that it was valued. He received it as an act of adoration and love. You are not wasting your time if you spend it in the presence of The Lord.
Of course, Judas controlled the ministry team's finances, and being a thief, he pilfered from the purse. Greedy, prideful, self-satisfied, it is no wonder he could not appreciate such an extravagant act of sacrificial worship.
I've often thought about what an extravagant offering must represent to the person giving it. If they give something valuable like gold, or jewels, or a large amount of money, it is not just the object that was given. It was the "time value of money" that cost them, the labor for the years it took to get the gift to give.
God understands time. He is with us, experiencing it as we do while at the same time existing beyond the limits of our time-space world. The Creator spoke into being all that we see: time, matter, and energy. He sparked it off with a Bang!
When the Word became flesh and lived among us, he subjected himself to the limits of time. Jesus was a nine month baby. He suffered on the cross until the ninth hour. He rose from the grave the morning of the third day. He prayed to the Father early before dawn. He knows about time, seasons and patience.
We live in a fast-paced world where everything seems quicker than a decade ago. We wake up, and a revolution has overthrown a government. A pope has resigned. North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon. A cop goes rogue and kills his comrades. The scrolling ticker-tape of breaking news moves too fast.
We turn around, and our children are grown and gone. We look away for a moment, and the schools took Bible reading and prayer away. We glance up from the paper and now most families are single women and kids. Another robbery. Another shooting. Congress approves more spending. Must be another day in America, days that flicker fast like a movie reel.
When did my hair turn gray? When did it fall out? Wait a minute ... I never planned on getting old! What can I do to get some perspective above and beyond this rat race of an escalator that keeps passing the floor where I wanted to get off? The answer is, pray. Prayer is a place where time is suspended.
Time spent in prayer is like a doorway, an entry point into a timeless realm, the realm where God is. In the company of the Eternal King, the great I AM, you are in a moment where He dwells — a place in space that is timeless. The stillness of peace that surrounds the throne of God is the nexus where all of creation originates and where all of time's inhabitants will arrive, if not to worship, then to be judged, where time shall be no more.
It is incredible to me that us mortals, this side of our resurrection, can taste a little bit of the atmosphere of heaven's peace and joy. Where? In our prayer closet. And while we are in our Father's holy presence, we can also take care of some of his business, and pray for his kingdom to come, his will to be done here on the earth.
Ron Wood is pastor of Trinity Assembly of God. www.trinitymeridian.com.