Blessed… For Some Time Alone (Part 1)

When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick (Matthew 14:13-14, Common English Bible).

When I started thinking about these two verses my mind started to runaway a bit. I started thinking about the Southwest Airline ad campaign where the woman is snooping in her friend’s medicine cabinet and everything comes crashing down followed by a voice saying, “Wanna get away?” Or there is the ad from the same campaign where the person is staring bored at their computer screen when an email comes in about a “new job” and “click here.” A computer virus is then launched throughout the company. Again, it is followed up by the voice saying, “Wanna get away?”

At some point in my life I heard introverts and extroverts being defined by where you get your energy. If you get your energy from being alone and being around people drains you, you are an introvert. On the other hand, if you gain energy from the time you spend with others and being alone tends to drain you, you are an introvert.

I am the quintessential extrovert. I need time around people. For most of my years in ministry my day off has been Friday. At times at least, it isn’t uncommon for me to spend most if not all my time on Friday alone. Sometimes, Cindy would come in from work and ask, “What do you want to do tonight?” My response was always, “I don’t care as long as its around people.”

Still, even though I love to be around people and I need that in my life, I also do need time alone. We all do. And, by time alone, I mean quiet time when there are no distractions like smart phones or television. We all need the quiet and the stillness. It is in such a setting that we are most likely to hear God speak.

For so many in American society, we walk in the house and the first thing we do is turn on the television. There is a good chance we aren’t really paying attention to it. When I have asked some of these people why, the response I always seemed to get is, “I want the noise.” What is it that we are afraid to hear in the silence?

In the verses making up our lesson today, Jesus and the disciples had just learned about the fate of John the Baptist. John was Jesus’ cousin. He was important to Jesus in other ways too and, for all intents and purposes, he had just been murdered because of some slick dance moves and a coward who watched them.

Jesus wanted time alone to grieve. This might be the most important alone time any of us could ever have. Jesus craved that time. He sought that time. It was something important for his soul, and he was unable to find it. As soon as the crowds figured out what Jesus was doing, they were after him.

We will talk about that more tomorrow. For today, remember, you need time alone, just you and God.

When and where do you find your alone time?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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