the weblog of Alan Knox

What if you just have no time to spend with other people?

Posted by on Jan 30, 2012 in blog links, community | 13 comments

What if you just have no time to spend with other people?

My friend Eric at “A Pilgrim’s Progress” is in an interesting situation. He’s written about it before, but he explains more in his post “No Time for Organic Church.”

You see, Eric quit his job as a full-time, vocational pastor for a local church organization several months ago. He prayed for employment for a long time (at least, a long time being unemployed), and God provided a job. However, he has to work long hours at this job – often working many overtime hours each week.

As he explains:

Because of this, our Sunday gatherings are extremely special to me. This is about the only time I get to see my friends. This is not by choice. It is a consequence of schedule. When we get together on Sundays, I find the time to be a wonderful, refreshing time of fellowship. I wish this could happen throughout the week, but right now that is not a possibility…

You may be in some sort of life situation that is keeping you from what you hope for as far as church is concerned. I want to encourage you. God’s grace is immense. He knows our hearts. He will also provide for fellowship in ways we don’t often expect or understand. However, as I’m learning, God’s timing is often far different from ours.

Someone could understand my posts last week about “organic church life” as a condemnation or admonishment of Eric and his situation. They are not intended that way at all.

Eric desires to share his life with others, but, in his wisdom, God has not provided that time. As Eric says, this is a time to trust God and rely on his grace.

My posts are meant as an encouragement to those of us who have time, but choose to spend that time on ourselves instead of sharing our lives with others.

So, if you find yourself in Eric’s situation… trust God and be patient. He knows what you need and when you need it… even if you think you need it now. :)

By the way, what do you think other brothers and sisters can do to help Eric during this time?


13 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 1-30-2012

    This isn’t intended to be an answer,but a possible aid. I participate in a online small group each week. This has brought a sense of community to our group, we know each other, we share with one another in many ways that are just like an organic church.

    We use Google+ hangouts for the platform, and I would say “its the next best thing to being there”.

    This may help, He knows our hearts, and intent.

  2. 1-30-2012

    I agree with Jim. Even for those who have regular 9-5 jobs, it’s hard to get together due to geographic seperation, children activities, etc. As intentional as we might like to be, it still can be seemingly impossible. I travel Mon-Fri every week and have to rely on phone calls, Facebook, email, and other Internet based social media. It’s not as good as fact to face meeting, but it’s a whole lot better than having nothing.

  3. 1-30-2012

    Jim and John,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I agree that online interaction can be a good option (and supplement) if “real-life” interaction is not possible for a time.

    -Alan

  4. 1-31-2012

    Alan,

    We hosted an organic fellowship in our home for about a year and a half. It was a tremendous time of fellowship and growth. The aviation industry was in a down cycle, so I had a lot of free time. When things started getting busy again, we had to quit hosting the gatherings, because I was gone too much.

    Unfortunately no one else was prepared to take over the gatherings and we dissolved. Even with my busyness there was a huge whole in my life because of the lack of fellowship. Most of 2011 I was bummed out about it. I am not sure why it happened but I am learning a lot about myself and trusting the Lord.

    Fortunately God has opened the door for us to be involved in another organic fellowship that I don’t have to host. It makes it much easier on me with my work schedule, because I am just not able to be the coordinator.

    Because of our culture and the demands of working, many of us don’t have consistent work hours, and a “normal” schedule. I have learned that the Lord will make a way for fellowship if we seek it.

  5. 1-31-2012

    Jack,

    Thanks for sharing part of your story!

    -Alan

  6. 1-31-2012

    Alan,

    Your words, “So, if you find yourself in Eric’s situation… trust God and be patient. He knows what you need and when you need it… even if you think you need it now.”, are so very important to take notice of.

    A few years back,I was speaking to a much older sister in Christ, complaining of the fact that my wife and I were in the position of being able to have little or no face to face fellowship.

    Many years ago, she and her husband had began to minister to a village in New Guinea. For several years the only brethren they saw, was each other. She reminded me of something I had not seen in the context of meaningful fellowship, and which, in recent years, has been very valuable to me.

    Our Lord, Jesus, promised to be with us always, and to never leave us. I can testify to the fact that He is completely trustworthy, not only regarding our salvation but as to meeting our needs, even in fellowship.

  7. 1-31-2012

    Aussie John,

    Yes, I agree. I think that Eric would agree as well. I know he would prefer to have more time to spend with other people now. But, he doesn’t. He is trusting God to provide more time when he needs it.

    -Alan

  8. 2-1-2012

    Alan,

    Your sensitivity on behalf of the brethren is a blessing to see, but I fear your trigger is a little too finely set.

    I agree with you on every word in your reply to my comment regarding Eric, I certainly would never suggest otherwise.

    I appreciate Eric,very much as a brother in Christ,and his courage to stand in the face of much traditionalism.

    Brother, if I read your bold type and the terseness of your words correctly, you certainly were way of the mark. I apologize if my words were found in any way offensive.

  9. 2-1-2012

    Aussie John,

    Thanks for saying something to me about this! Apparently, I forgot to close the “bold” tag on my comment. No terseness was intended. Instead, I was attempting to agree with you.

    Again, thank you for bringing it to my attention!

    Everyone,

    There was an html tag mistake in my previous comment (before Aussie John’s) which led to his previous comment. I’ve corrected the mistake, which is why my comment is no longer bold.

    Please feel free to point out to me any time you think my attitude or actions are not honoring to God, because I honestly appreciate Aussie John saying something to me.

    -Alan

  10. 2-3-2012

    By the way, what do you think other brothers and sisters can do to help Eric during this time?

    I would be thinking about those people he has 65 hours a week with since it isn’t with me. Are there some encounters God is arranging Eric to be an encouragement to people there…if he and I are close and sharing what is happening with our work, then I might know about some of those people and can specifically be praying about his opportunities to be instant out of season.

    I’ve a similar problem. Injured my back last week and can’t sit or stand more than a few seconds without significant pain. I’m at home, on my back and likely to be this way a few weeks. Well, can’t go to meetings, but could host one here maybe. Can’t work at work, but looking into how I can work at home lying down, had some stuff sent home to work. But what I might overlook is that God has seen fit to put me at home with my wife and children. Instead of figuring out how to deal with conducting my everyday life on my back at home (work, pay, meetings,etc.) I think I need to see what God would have me do in the new circumstance. I have different opportunities with my family being home all day (and night). What can we be teaching/learning from each other through this trial together?

  11. 2-3-2012

    Eric,

    Thanks for answering that question! I think it’s a question that we often overlook.

    You said, “I think I need to see what God would have me do in the new circumstance.” Perfect! And, I think this is a great way that we can exhort our brothers and sisters who may find them in circumstances that are not “perfect.”

    -Alan

  12. 2-3-2012

    Alan,

    May I acknowledge the graciousness of your response to me both via email and here.

    You have been a true reflection of the Master you serve, and greatly blessed this old codger.

    Thank you!

    Eric,

    I’m sorry to read of your predicament.

    Your prayers for me and mine have been greatly valued.

    Our prayers are with you in your difficulty

  13. 2-4-2012

    Thank you brother. You can specifically pray for a sequestered disc fragment to dissolve fast – or that I will have the patience to wait it out as long as I am supposed to.

    I am enjoying being with my family during the day – seeing them before we are all worn out in the evenings. Teaching a little biology on the spine and helping out with schooling a little more, which is something I’ve had in mind to do in the near future. Maybe work from home one day a week for that purpose on a couple of subjects, so this could be the avenue to see if it is something that can be accomplished and keep my work at work afloat.