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27th August: Buying up Time

Turn my eyes away from worthless things; renew my life according to your word. Psalm 119:37 (NIV)

The pre-registration year can mean many long hours in a hospital bedroom or common room waiting for the next call. Slack on-call weekends can drift imperceptibly by in a haze of wasted time, with nothing achieved. Of course there is a right and necessary place for total relaxation, but this must be by design and not by drift. It is important not just to allow the 'worthless things', the trivial television programmes or trashy newspaper articles, to take over the quiet unoccupied on-call hours, filling our minds and leaving no room for spiritual life and growth. How often on other days do we deplore our lack of time; yet how slow we are to buy up the opportunities that do arise to pray and read God's word, or to talk to colleagues or patients.

The trouble is that we find we have neither the inclination nor the ability within ourselves to stir ourselves to do anything about it. Failure to feed spiritually leads quickly to a diminishing appetite and finally to anorexia. We need to pray the psalmist's prayer: 'Turn my eyes away from worthless things; renew my life according to your word'. We need God's renewing grace each day to break in on our spiritual lethargy, to give us the desire to read and to pray. As we obey, his word will speak to us, mould us and become our delight. As we feed, our appetite will grow again.

Let us give the unoccupied on-call hours to him to our eternal blessing and that of others.

Oh to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
Take my heart, O take and seal it, seal it from thy courts above.

Robert Robinson

Further reading: Col 3:1-10.


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