I’m an early riser. I guess it was ingrained in me from my youth.
My parents were sticklers for punctuality. They expected my brother and me to be at the breakfast table when Mother brought the biscuits from the oven to the table with the sausage or bacon and eggs. He expected us to be ready to go to work with him as soon as he finished his breakfast and put on his work boots. And he expected us to get our jobs done when they were supposed to be done on the job site.
I guess that trait just rubbed off on me. In fact, I think that my parents’ training of us kids was so good that I became an even greater stickler for punctuality than they were.
I never wanted to be late for school or church. I never wanted to be late for meetings. Neither did I want meetings to start later than their scheduled time. After all, if I made a point of being on time to get to the meeting, the least the one in charge could do was start (and finish) it on time. As a teacher, I expected to be in my classroom early so I could get everything ready for the day’s activities and lessons. I expected the students to be on time. To me, rushing to their seats just as the tardy bell rang was being late. I expected them to get their homework assignments done on time, too.
As a morning person, my best time for devotional reading is early in the morning. Sitting in my recliner (but not reclining) with a cup of coffee and my Bible (and possibly a notepad or a commentary), I’m ready to begin the day. If I’m late getting up because I forgot to set the alarm, or if I fail for whatever reason to have that quiet time alone with God, the rest of my day is out of kilter.
Perhaps that’s why a particular phrase rang true to me one morning during my devotional time. It leaped at me from the page as I was reading Psalm 110: “the womb of the morning.” I began to meditate on its meaning for me. Now. Today.
A mother’s womb is the place of beginnings. For the developing baby, the womb is a place of warmth, quietness, nutrition, comfort, and safety. It’s a place for the development of something promising–a new life filled with potential. The womb symbolizes youth and the strength, vitality, and potential that accompany it.
So it is with each new morning. The early morning is the beginning of a brand new day. It is filled with promise and potential of what could be developed, of what could be produced, of fruitful accomplishment.
In the early morning, we look forward, get organized, plan, hope, and pray. We get our mental and physical potential moving. We begin to turn potential energy into kinetic energy and to develop that potential into reality. We produce something that will eventually bear fruit, sometimes immediately but at other times eventually.
The Scriptures speak often of rising early. Job did it (Job 1:5). Abraham did too (Gen. 19:27). As did Moses (Exo. 34:4-5). And so did David (Psa. 57:8). But the example of early rising that I like best is Jesus Himself (Mark 1:25). If He, the very Son of God, thought it necessary to rise early so he could go to a “solitary place” to pray, how much more should we?
I don’t know if Ben Franklin’s proverb “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” is a guarantee of any of those three alleged benefits, but following it surely helps one get a lot more done during the day than if he slept away half the day. Once one gets into the habit of early rising, failure to do so seems like such a waste of time, almost as criminal as stealing someone else’s property. It seems the next kin to sloth.
So here’s to rising early, to the promise that the “womb of the morning” holds out to all who will give it a chance to give birth to great accomplishments. It holds out potential for fruitfulness and productivity even in old age, when the womb is normally barren. Like old Sarai, whose womb was barren for so long and yet bore the son of promise in her old age, the habit of early rising can produce fruit for us even in the heretofore barren womb of time.