Taking Time to Know God
“An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” For centuries, the idea expressed in this idiom has been found in spoken and written word. In his 1386 work, The Tale of Melibee, poet Geoffrey Chaucer stated, ““Dooth somme goode dedes that the devel, which is oure enemy, ne fynde yow nat unocupied.” About 350 years later, hymnist Isaac Watts included this stanza in his Divine Songs for Children: “In Works of Labour or of Skill I would be busy too: For Satan finds some mischief still for idle Hands to do.” In both past and present, poets, preachers, and parents have warned of dangers when mind and hand are not given worthwhile tasks to accomplish. While the above idea is a needed teaching, danger occurs if taken to the extreme. Busyness can keep one from trouble; however, it can also prevent the needed time of reflection necessary to build a relationship with God. This wisdom was reflected in the Lord’s command to Israel concerning the Sabbath: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:8-10a). The Lord wanted work to cease and minds to relax so that His people could reflect on their relationship with Him. He gave time to “disengage” from daily chores and cares to meditate on the blessings they had as His holy people. The psalmists also appreciated the need for a quiet mind. As David reflected on the attitude one should have toward an evildoer’s mischief, he wrote, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land” (Psalm 37:7-9). The sons of Korah also admonished readers to appreciate the Lord’s protection. They wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10). An idle mind worries about how the battle will be won over evil; a reflective mind ponders the power God has over evil. No Sabbath command has been given to Christians; however, the concept of taking time to be holy should not be abandoned. While resilience is proven in the heat of battle, it is developed in quietness of mind. Busyness may be lauded as a virtue; however, the spiritually minded will learn to “be still.” It is never a waste of time to quietly meditate on God, nor to disengage from both physical and mental labors to allow thoughts to be fully directed toward Him. Take time today to break from the work at hand, and allow your thoughts to aim heavenward.