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We need God time, not me time

21st century Britain is all about me, me, me, writes Anna Hancock. But surely God deserves our time and love more than we do?

"What do we want" "Instant gratification!" "When do we want it?" "Now!"
Woman and reflection
Picture: adamr/freedigitalphotos.net

Ok, so it doesn't scan very well but it is the cry of the age. Whatever you want, it's ok to demand it as a right and right now. Status symbol car? Pay a deposit and drive it away - never mind the crippling monthly repayments.

Shortchanged in the shop? Demand the manager and your 'consumer rights'. Unhappy with the way you look? Spend a few grand on cosmetic surgery, you can even stick it on your credit card to save waiting for that perfect nose. Fancy a one night stand? Go for it - stay safe and never mind how you'll feel in the morning.

Yes, 21st century Britain is all about me, me, me. We even devote special time to the love of self - who wouldn't want a bit of 'me time' to concentrate on making ourselves feel happier and more loved by the most important person in the world - ourself.

So what's brought on this devotion to self that is so prevalent today? I wouldn't go so far as to say that people's lives are empty but they are often emptier than they have ever been before.

The collapse of manufacturing industries and the rise in the mobility-friendly service industry has destroyed all but a few close knit communities where a sense of belonging prevailed. The internet has brought the whole world to our living rooms but our real life neighbours are strangers. Two hundred Facebook friends are no substitute for a real life friend who loves you enough to tell you when you are being selfish or acting a fool.

There's a gap in people's lives which they try to fill with ultimately empty things. The teenage girl who thinks a boob job will end all her problems. The couple caught up in trying to out-spend their neighbours on symbols of wealth. Those who turn to drink or drugs or even food to cope with their unfulfilled lives. People who devour self-help books in a bid to find more meaning in their life.

Well, I've felt the fear and done it anyway and it can leave you devoting even more time to self as you battle to be the person another person tells you that you can be.

Where does it all end? When parents go to school to confront the teacher because little Tyler got told off, and a recent experiment to see how many people would stop to help a lost, distressed child proved only one person out of hundreds of shoppers would, when old people are left isolated and alone: well, if I'm all right Jack, then who cares if Jill is sobbing in a corner? Me, me, me, self, self, self - look after number one and put yourself first, it's the modern way isn't it?

I think the answer is to be found not in more 'me time' but in having more 'God time'. In Jonah's prayer (Jonah 2:8) we hear 'those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God's love for them'.

Well, worthless idols are something we are not short of. Money, beauty, sex, self... take your pick or cling to them all. And therein lies the problem. While we are clinging to our idols we have turned our back on God's love for us. His love for us remains constant, it is we who are fickle, scrabbling around for crumbs of comfort in our brief lives whilst ignoring the greatest comforter of all.

We are so busy storing up treasure on earth that we forget the treasure that awaits in heaven. The hope that we have in Jesus is far richer than anything money can buy here on earth. His sacrifice is far greater than we deserve, yet He made it willingly for us to have that hope. Surely God deserves our time and love more than we do, who love and devote time to self?

In Matthew chapter 6 we are told not to worry about what to eat or what to wear as our Father loves us more than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field who he provides with sufficient food and beautiful clothes. Yet we still worry about not having the latest designer gear and dream of shopping at Waitrose while we trail around Asda. We can lament the materialism of our neighbours but it is down to those of us who have faith to share it with them and show them there is more to life than the pursuit of self-interest.

Moreover we need to show them how to have that all-important 'God time' and leave that 'me time' behind.

Anna Hancock is a church member and enthusiastic Press Officer at Rosebery Park Baptist Church in Bournemouth. A former Catholic, Anna rediscovered faith after an apologetics course at RPBC and was baptised in 2012.

Baptist Times, 01/05/2014
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