Have you ever had microwaved ribs?
In fact, the thing that so many people love about ribs is when they are “fall off the bone.” When the ribs are great, they are smoky, tender, with a barbecue crisp on the outside. To achieve the perfect ribs, it takes several hours of a few different processes. You can certainly tell when the chef has put time into the ribs; it’s obvious.
The best foods, drinks, buildings, relationships, etc., take time and care to create and cultivate. When the process is rushed, you can tell. It tastes, looks, and feels rushed. Just like great ribs, a good bottle of wine, or an elegant structure, time and attention to detail are the key ingredients to success.
Why, however, do we try to microwave our relationship with God?
The book of Proverbs is a favorite amongst Christians and for a good reason. It contains practical pieces of advice from the wisest man to ever live (1 Kings 4:30). The passage we’re going to look at today deals directly with cooking meat.
In Proverbs 12:27 (ESV), Solomon tells us,
Let’s deal with the first part of our passage: Whoever is slothful will not roast his game.
Of course, Solomon is talking about how a lazy person doesn’t take the time necessary to make a tasty dish. However, he isn’t merely doling out cooking advice. Instead, he’s speaking about the time a wise person takes in their ventures. Wise people, according to Solomon, take their time. Wise people are not lazy, and they don’t rush things. They put their work in, and then take their time. The results show their work.
We should approach our relationship with God the same way. Too often, we want our relationship with God to have the results of a long-prepared meal but in the time of a microwave dinner. Unlike microwaved food, which can leave us full but unsatisfied, when we try to fast-track our relationship with God will leave us frustrated and distant from God. A result far graver than a bad dinner.
How many times have you attempted to read through the Bible only to give up after a few weeks?
How many times have you tried to pray longer and more frequently only to stop because it wasn’t doing anything for you?
How many times have you tried to move past certain sins in your life only to find yourself falling back into those sins?
Often, we give up on these pursuits because we don’t see the results as quick as we’d hoped. But, as with anything good, it takes time to bloom into that which we hoped it to be.
If we want to cultivate a sincere appreciation, love, and desire for the Bible, prayer, or any spiritual discipline, we have to take it one step at a time. When we find ourselves reading the Bible just to do it or praying just because we’re supposed to, we shouldn’t give up. We can’t be disheartened, or think that we simply can’t get it.
Instead, we have to keep going! We have to keep praying, reading, repenting, and confessing.
Why? Because anything worth having is worth working for, and the thing most worth having is an intimate relationship with God.
So, what happens when we take our time and patiently work hard at attaining a more intimate relationship with God?
Let’s look at the next part of the verse: but the diligent man will get precious wealth.
The diligent man.
The hardworking, attentive, careful person will get precious wealth. Of course, there is an economic principle at work here often repeated in the western world: if you want to make money, work hard and do it. However, continuing with our theme today, what does this mean for us spiritually?
Looking at a different passage might help us, Hebrews 11:6b.
For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
God rewards those who seek him. The Amplified version reads as such: He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.
If it’s intimacy with God we desire, then we must diligently seek him. How interesting that many years after Solomon instructs the people of God that wise people are diligent that the mysterious writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that when we diligently seek God, he rewards us!
Intimacy with God is the most precious of all wealth. He created us for relationship with him, the closer we get to him, the more our souls function the way in which they are supposed to.
If you’re struggling to find intimacy with God, don’t give up! The most precious of all wealth is worth all the diligence we can afford. When we don’t feel close, we can’t stop trying. We might be right on the edge of breaking through into a new season of closeness with God. Of course, just because we’re experiencing intense intimacy with God currently, doesn’t mean we won’t again experience distance; that is a part of being sinful and self-centered. It does mean, however, that intimacy is always available to us if we’re willing to pursue it diligently.
Today, let’s pray for intimacy. Let’s read even if we don’t feel passionate about it. Let’s pray even when we don’t feel like he’s listening.
Intimacy is right around the corner.