The Importance of the Time-Out

Focus 40  Day 27

Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed… —Luke 5:16 NIV

Jesus knew the importance of the time-out, when we break away from the normal (or abnormal!)
busyness of life to regroup, refresh, and refocus. I saw this illustrated in a football game.
In the final seconds of the game, the Dallas Cowboys were behind by four points, several
yards from the goal line, fourth down, and one timeout remaining. They needed a touchdown to win
the game. Quarterback Roger Staubach called time-out and ran to the sideline to confer with Coach
Tom Landry. After the time-out, Staubach gave the count, the offensive line pushed the defenders
back, the receivers ran past the goal line, and Roger fired a pass to a receiver who caught it and won
the game.

The victory isn’t so important now, but the principle is: the time-out is vital in those tense
moments toward the end and throughout the game. Whether you are ahead or behind, it is
important periodically to take a time-out, stop the action, consult with the coach. Listen to his
counsel; be refreshed with a drink of water or Gatorade; regroup your thoughts and energy; review
the game plan.

This is truer in life than in a ballgame. We need to take time out to be with God, listen to his
Word, pray, and encourage one another. Our busyness, desperately driven by responsibilities,
worries, and demands, makes this time-out more important. Those moments with God, who is wiser
than we are, give us needed guidance, delightful reassurance that he is with us. In that setting we are
renewed with a refreshing drink from his powerful, life-transforming Word. Then it is time to get
off the sidelines, back in circulation, and do the work God has calls us to do.

Prayer unleashes the power of the Word to transform our lives, regroup our thoughts, reveal
God’s game plan, replenish our energies, and move ahead in confidence and victory as we follow his
guidance.

Lord, thank you for unifying my life around your Word and prayer, for the supreme privilege of living in intimate
relationship with you. In the midst of busyness, cluttered schedules, hectic lifestyles, noise, clutter, and chaos, empower
me to create the silent space to shape an intimate relationship with you through your Word and prayer. Enable me to
take the appropriate time-outs, which are vital in my relationship with you. Remind me of the necessity of listening to
your directions, being refreshed in your presence, and receiving a renewed vision of who you want me to be and what you
want me to do. Then take me back into my world as a transformed person whom you can use to touch the lives of
others with your love and transforming power. Through the Prince of Peace I pray. Amen.

– Dr. Sam Bruce, President, Sam & Sandie Bruce Ministries; Pastor, Hope Point Church, Pearl,
Mississippi; Online Instructor, Mid-America Christian University

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