How much is enough time for Bible study?
I’m talking Bible study, not just reading. Pen in hand, notebook beside open Bible. How much is enough for that? One hour a day? That’s what many Women’s Bible studies suggest. A half hour? That might do it if you rush and don’t look up every reference. How about fifteen minutes? No way. That’s not long enough.
But what if that’s all the time you have? Most of us have been through periods in our life when personal time is squeezed almost to nothing. A move, a new baby, sickness, job changes, deadlines for students (and teachers), family emergencies. You switch to survival mode. Even after the crisis has passed, fifteen minutes may be all the time you have to spend in God’s Word.
My thesis is this
If 15 minutes is all you have, don’t just spend it, invest it. Don’t let it peter away to nothing. Don’t despise small amounts of time. Grab it and make use of it. Guard it. It’s not just “better than nothing,” it’s an investment that will produce dividends over time.
We’ve all heard that small investments add up to big gains. Well, just 15 minutes a day spent in the Word will add up to
- almost 2 hours a week
- almost 8 hours a month
- over 90 hours a year
That’s more than two 40–hour work weeks each year spent in knowing your God through the Scriptures. Amazing.
We often waste the precious time that we have lamenting that we don’t have more. Jesus knew firsthand about limitations, since he took on our limits in the incarnation. He knew we would be tempted to complain about our limits, comparing and making excuses and frittering away the precious resources we’ve been given. So he told the Parable of the Talents to help us know how to live between now and when he returns.
For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. Matthew 25:14
Though each servant was given a different amount to manage, their job was the same. They were to use it, invest it, and cause it to grow until the Master returned. The Master didn’t compare the output of the servants. He wasn’t impressed that the five talent man made five more. He wasn’t disappointed that the two talent man only made two more. He was looking for faithfulness. In fact, he said the exact same words to those two servants, not just commending them but rewarding and celebrating!
Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. Matthew 25:21, 23
Can you imagine being told those words about your “fifteen minutes” when Christ returns?
The Faithful Servant
About this time my heart sinks. I know that I’ll blow it. I won’t always be diligent to guard even my 15 minute window.
No, you and I won’t be perfectly faithful investing our time and talents as we should. But he was. You see, in the parable Jesus plays two parts. He’s the Master who leaves and returns, but he’s also the Faithful Servant. He faithfully used every limited resource entrusted to him in his earthly life. Then he died and rose again so his servants could enter into His joy.
So if you have an hour a day, use it. But if you only have 15 minutes, don’t sweat it. Invest it and reap joy.