What is the most difficult thing you do? Not the most impossible, frightening thing you could ever imagine being forced into, but the single most difficult task you must undertake regularly, frequently or occasionally. Mine is to think.
But everyone thinks, all the time, without effort, right? The first several years of our life together, when Terri was quiet, obviously deep in thought, I would interrupt her thoughtlessly and ask her what she was thinking. She would almost always smile at me with those beautiful green eyes and say, “Nothing.” I would then proceed to gently, kindly, and patiently explain to her the impossibility of actually thinking about nothing. Perhaps when I so rudely jarred her out of her profound contemplation she immediately forgot what she had been meditating on to give me her undivided attention. This was a distinct possibility I thought, because she really was and is far more intelligent than I. But no, “I wasn’t thinking about anything,” she would insist. After about a decade of such flabbergastation, I quit asking.
But, generally, our minds are always operating, mindlessly, if you will, without an operator. The switch is always on. The difficulty is making them go where we want them to go. We need to be IT geniuses to master these super computers with which we were born. We can’t weasel out by claiming to be computer illiterate. We have no choice but to think.
Think about how much you have to think for your job, whether it’s at McDonald’s or as a mechanical engineer or operating a road grader. Sometimes you have to think so fast on your feet (or your seat,) observers might not be able to detect the process at all. But you know, don’t you? Some jobs, it behooves you to slow down, sit down, think through every move and its many ramifications, all the variables, all the scenarios, what might possibly go wrong, and the solutions, what you want the end result to be, etc., etc. Your working time might actually turn out to be nine parts thinking and one part hands on doing. But your thinking will time very well spent.
My job description is pretty simple: Evangelism-talk to people about Jesus. Of course it can be explained more fully, but that’s a pretty good summary. I have, without fear of any contradiction, the best ‘job’ in the world. I hand out Gospel tracts that I have written and that have been translated into Spanish; I stumble around in my broken Spanish trying share the Gospel. I am amazed again and again that the power is not in the evangelist but in the Holy Spirit and in the Gospel itself; I preach through translators; I get to go out of the USA and preach when funds are available; and I preach in English speaking churches…Spiritual Awakening conferences (or ‘revival meetings’) and pulpit supply. Only thing I want is to preach more.
But I have to think. Concentrate. Focus. Meditate. That sometimes seems like the hard work. It takes that to prepare messages, to write tracts, to write articles. I write articles about Revival and related subjects. Spiritual subjects seem to be the most difficult to concentrate on. I believe it’s because, in addition to the normal distractions and tendencies to wander all over the universe mentally, anywhere except where I’m trying to focus, when I’m praying, meditating, reading Scripture and trying to write on things above and not on things below, that’s when the enemy comes in like a flood. You talk about ‘shock and awe,’ with Satan, anything goes, anything’s fair. Interruptions, uncanny timing, bombarding thoughts, something somewhere breaks, goes wrong, demands immediate attention. He doesn’t even try to be sneaky or try to disguise himself anymore. It’s almost funny, it’s so obviously the devil. But it is irritating. Spiritual thinking is hard work, it is a battle, it must be fought faithfully, it can be won daily.
Now, the point: I want to encourage you to make time, fight for it, keep it every day to read the Scripture and pray and think. Be quiet, listen. Remove all other things that demand you listen to them. You are attempting to enter the Secret Place, under the shadow of the Almighty, into the Holy of Holies, before the blood sprinkled Mercy Seat. The angels are all around the Throne, the elders on their faces, the Lamb of God at the Father’s right hand interceding for you. Waiting to commune with you is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Shhh! Hush! For Heaven’s sake, turn off your cell phone! And tarry there one hour in sweet fellowship.