“Early to bed, early to rise.” I didn’t appreciate the saying because I’m a night owl. I tend to get my second wind around midnight. While I was working and our kids were small, I could force myself to get up early, but now that I’m retired, only an occasional doctor’s visit is a reason to jump out of bed (more like drag myself out of bed) at the first light of day. Even today, I’ll only sleep about an hour and then get back up for a couple hours. I do most of my writing during those late-night times. Of course, I get caught up on my sleep with more daytime naps.
Some of the hardest verses for a night owl to read are “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:6–11)
I never liked the word, “sluggard”. It sounds sooooo “sluggish,” if you know what I mean. It brings to mind the picture of a banana slug leaving a trail of slime on the sidewalk as it slowly moves along. Yet, whatever your biological clock may be, it is good for us to make sure our spiritual life isn’t “sluggish”. We don’t want to be called a “sleepyhead” when it comes to our commitment to Christ.
We want to be alert both to the dangers around us and to the opportunities that present themselves to us. The Apostle Paul shared two activities to help us stay alert, that of obedience to the Word of God and prayer. “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD OF GOD. And PRAY in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:17–18)
Submitting your life to the authority of the Bible and to the practice of prayer is something you hear in almost every sermon because they are so important for us. Prayer is an opportunity for us to TALK TO GOD, and reading His Word is an opportunity for GOD TO SPEAK TO US.
A third activity that I think is important for you is to be financially giving to a ministry that reaches beyond the walls of your church. While there are a lot of good charities you can support, one my wife and I have chosen is Apple of His Eye Charity. Your donations go to our faithful partners in India and Rwanda to help them care for orphans, widows, and other less fortunate people. Why do I suggest that you be financially involved? Because Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
Regardless of your sleep patterns, you and I are encouraged to stay alert so that we are ready when the Lord calls.
By Marlon Furtado