My alarm clock is confused. Janet bought us these fancy devices which are supposed to synchronize with global time keeping devices. Just turn them on and they instantly know the time. Except they are programmed for Daylight Saving Time to end yesterday, and it didn’t. It will cease next Sunday at 2 am-then my clock will know the time again.

Why is it so puzzled? Today’s Associated Press explains that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended Daylight Saving Time by one week. Apparently no one told my alarm clock. I’m reminded of the man who had a watch and knew the time, then got two and was never sure.

My clock is not the only device worried about chronology. I read recently that we are working on average 20% more hours per week than we were in 1973. If you think we’re more accomplished and significant as a result, you’d be wrong. More than 60% of successful professionals suffer from chronic stress and depression. Some 48% of top corporate executives report that their lives are empty and meaningless.

What’s wrong with us?

Aristotle defined excellence as “expressing your highest talent to its fullest measure.” Winston Churchill, standing before the House of Commons in June of 1941, said, “I have only one purpose, the destruction of Hitler; and my life is much simplified thereby.”

The psychologist Abraham Maslow concluded, after many years as a therapist, that an artist must paint, a poet must write, a musician must make music if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. Will Rogers was more plain but no less profound: “If you want to be successful, know what you are doing, love what you are doing, and believe in what you are doing.” Do you “know what you are doing”? How can you?

Jesus has just begun his public ministry. He has already defeated Satan in the wilderness, called his first disciples, preached to the crowds, taught the people, healed and exorcised demons, and drawn gigantic crowds from all over the region. Now what? What should he do next?

Scripture tells us: “Very early the next morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Mark’s original Greek makes it clear that Jesus got up around 3 AM to do this. He purposefully, deliberately found a place where he could be alone with his Father. He spent the entire morning in prayer.

As a result, he could tell his disciples: “Let us go somewhere else-to the nearby villages-so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (v. 38). And so “he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons” (v. 39). He found his purpose in life, and never left it.

When was the last time you asked God about yours?

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