Crossroads: Be

Acts 17:22-31

Your Story

Talk about a time when you felt fully relaxed in God’s presence. How did you feel just being with God?

My Story and the Bible Story

It is difficult for me to slow down, relax, and just spend time with God. In fact, I usually measure the success of my days based on how productive I was and the amount of work I got done. Sitting and just “being” doesn’t seem like a great way to find success. And yet God calls us to do just that.

When I was in seminary, my church history class took a day to visit the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. (If you are telling this story to your children, explain that a monastery is a place where monks live. Monks are Catholic men who have decided to live their whole lives for God. They don’t get married or have a family. Instead, they live together at a place called a monastery, where they spend a lot of their time worshiping God. There are no TVs or electronic devices there.) We began our journey to the monastery at 5:30 a.m. Once we got there, we had a silent breakfast with the monks, as they do not talk until after morning prayers. At 7:00 we went to morning prayers with them, and the day officially began. Although we spent a good bit of our day talking about church history, there was time set aside to be with God. During this time, there were no distractions like TVs or phones. Instead, we were supposed to just “be” with God. I found myself walking along the lake and listening. Eventually I sat on a bench. After a few minutes, I began to relax and listen for God. Of course, that didn’t last too long as the geese decided to squawk, and all too soon my busy life began again. But for those moments, I understood what it meant to be with God. I understood the verse in Acts that says, “in him we live and move and have our being” (17:28). These moments where we can simply be with God are precious. They change us. And although we must move back to our busy lives, we are never quite the same.

Read Acts 17:22-31.

In this Scripture, Paul is teaching the people of Athens, Greece. He is speaking from a place called Mars Hill. The people had been worshiping other gods, but they also had an altar for “an unknown God.” Paul was able to tell them who God is and the wonder of God’s love. He reminded them that although the other gods that they sacrificed to always needed things from them, God doesn’t.

Have you ever thought about that? Unlike us, God doesn’t need anything. Acts 17:25 says, “Nor is God served by human hands, as though he needed something, since he is the one who gives life, breath, and everything else.” Let that sink in for a second. Our God, the God of the universe, created everything. He doesn’t need anything. We often get so caught up in doing God’s work (helping others, volunteering, etc.)—even though these are good things—that we start to think God needs us. We think that if we don’t do something, nobody else can do it, and God depends on us to get it done. It is true that we are called to be God’s hands and feet on this Earth, to help those who need it. But God doesn’t need us to do those things. Instead, God wants us first and foremost to simply be with God. God wants to spend time with us and wants us to be connected to the Source that gave us life. Since God created everything around us, it is “in God we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). When you get caught up in and worn down from the busyness of life, remember to stop and just be. Relaxing and spending time being with God is one of the best ways to be filled and to feel rejuvenated. Things will get done, but take the time, as much as you can, to stop, slow down, and simply be.

Discussion and Prayer

1. As a family, talk about intentional ways that you can all can slow down to spend time together and time with God.

2. Are there things you need to say no to?

3. Find ways this week to spend time together without distractions (no TV, no cell phones). Have conversations together. Perhaps have a family dinner a few times per week. Encourage your children to sit for a few minutes and talk to God like they would talk to their best friends.

4. If you have a closet or small room that isn’t being used, create a prayer room for the family. Talk about how each of you can go in this room to spend time with God. Make it a comfortable space with few distractions.

5. Pray, asking God to help you slow down. Pray that God will show you if you need to say no to something or remove some of the busyness from your life.

Rev. Jessica Asbell is the Minister to Children and Families at First Baptist Roswell, where she has been serving since 2012. She has written the children’s curriculum for Smyth & Helwys’s Annual Bible Study for the books of Daniel; Ezekiel; Luke; Jonah; 1 Corinthians; 1, 2, 3 John and Jude; Colossians; The Story of Israel’s Ancestors: Living toward a Promise; and Where Faith & Family Meet: A Book of Weekly Devotions. She has also written for CBF’s Spark and Form and for Affect in CBF’s fellowship! magazine. Married to Jonathan Oravec, Jessica reads every chance she gets.

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