By Ivan Williams
So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Exodus 33:11
It takes prayerful and persevering intentionality to spend time with God on a daily basis because the enemy of our soul wars against this. Read Ephesians 6:11-12 and 1 Peter 5:8.
We are told, “Satan well knows that all whom he can lead to neglect prayer and the searching of the Scriptures, will be overcome by his attacks. Therefore he invents every possible
device to engross the mind” (Great Controversy, p.519). I believe Satan specializes in working through the tyranny of the urgent and what I call the 3-D’s. He works through the
distractions, disruptions and detours of life.
The doing of daily ministry, however, cannot substitute for personally being or spending time with God, because spending personal time with the Lord is the life-blood to the doing or practice of pastoral ministry. Through Moses’ relationship with God, we are given insight about our communication with God as to our pastoral leadership and God’s promising presence. Leading in this cynical age filled with modern ideologies, and leading generational builders, boomers, busters/gen-Xers, gen-Yers, and millennialists all at the same time requires a yearning like Moses. “...Show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight...” Exodus 33:13.
Andrew R. Irvine, author of “Living Between Two Worlds,” surveyed pastors and found that over 50 percent of them “felt that to some degree people in the church wanted someone to run the show, not leaving time for personal spiritual nurture, and some 65 percent indicated that to some degree they were often expected to give to others what they themselves lacked.” Irvine went on to suggest that the development of the spiritual is difficult for the clergy. He found they were often so busy doing, that concern with being - the more devotional activity - seemed impossible. He found, alarmingly, business in the schedule of the clergyperson allows time only for prayer with others as part of the job and for scripture study in a search during the sermon process. Irvine is correct. Our need is not for more activity, even activity in ministry. Rather, the need is to shift the doing, to allow time and space for the being with God. Irvine says, “The clamor of activism in the outer physical world, prompted by the clutter of unresolved issues in the inner world, prevents the development and nurture of the spiritual which must transcend both worlds.
There is a need to remove the clutter so that in the midst of all of life the transcendent Spirit can be experienced.” Busyness in ministry is often the veneer used to cover the empty place in the life of the pastor. Church work - attending meetings, setting up tables, and setting up office computers-may be good, but often it crowds out being with God through prayer, meditation and Bible study. My prayer is that we all slow down to pray another prayer of Moses to God, “please show me Your glory”!