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Pray Before You Buy: The Watch

March 16, 2011

On Sunday I was preaching at St Michael le Belfrey, following their recent series on Discipleship with some stuff about Consumer Detox. It was an amazing privilege to preach in the church where David Watson ministered. His book Discipleship, was a key influence on the formation of Breathe, and raised the challenge of how we pursue a simpler lifestyle in the 21st Century (Watson, like Ronald Sider and Richard Foster, was writing about these things decades ago, but the evangelical church hasn’t really seemed to know what to do with their teaching).

Anyway just two days before, I’d been shopping for a watch with Ailsa but the results were disappointing. Fashion watches for £30 that look like breaking in 2012; digital watches that shout CHEAP! (I’m not criticising the watches, but it’s amazing how well socialised we are into making assumptions about people on the basis of their timepiece); and then the £50-£5,000 watches… So basically no purchase was made (surely a good option sometimes).

I preached at the 5pm service at St Michael le Belfrey and remarked, off the cuff, that I had no watch so they’d have to put up with it if I went over time. I was chatting to someone about this after the service and thought nothing of it – except to say a little prayer to myself, ‘God, I would love it if I didn’t have to waste your money on a watch. But what else can I do?’ (anyone in my work who has a meeting with me knows how difficult I find it to stick to time!).

I preached at the 7pm service, and then afterwards this guy came up and said, ‘I have a gift for you’. Sure enough, there in an envelope was a watch! He’d gone home and dug out a spare watch, matched it up with a strap and brought it in specially. God is good. And Derek, thank you so much for such a genuine and generous gift.

Pray before you buy – I had no idea how much God was going to use it to change my perspective and bring me joy.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2011 7:31 pm

    Thanks, Mike,

    An excellent blog inspiring thought about purchasing – believe it is a valuable note to sound in these days. Have enjoyed checking out the BreatheNetwork website and will seek to promote it wherever I can. Having just enjoyed a very pleasnat “simple” meal, I was just thinking about the idea of sharing some of my “uncomplicated” recipes on my own site. Maybe I should post some of them off to BN as well or draft a couple of posts.

    Having spent a decade or so in the highlands of a Pacific Island nation where life was truly uncomplicated and serving with another project for the past couple of decades that encourages a simple lifestyle, I’m right behind you.

    Actually I don’t have a watch either and often tell folk that in the Pacific we go by the sun and occasionally it goes behind the clouds… I have discovered while travelling extensively in recent years that there are so many time pieces around in public places and we have our mobiles now too, that really the watch may not be such a big issue after all. In an emergency there is usually someone nearby to ask – a good conversation breaker….

    Kind regards,


  2. March 17, 2011 10:32 pm

    Just a further comment, Mark,

    You might to look at the website: also. I’d like to include a post about Breathe on that if you happy.

    Many thanks,


    • Mark permalink*
      March 18, 2011 4:18 pm

      Hi David,

      Thanks for that. Yes that would be great. Do let people know about Breathe, and also do send me anything at if you’d like.

      God Bless


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