Thursday, January 18, 2018

Meditation on Time

Ps 90:12 - Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (NIV)

Col 1:25 … I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you (ESV)

1 Pet 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms (NIV)

1 Cor 12:4-6  Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone (ESV).

In thinking on these scriptures, I am reminded that we are stewards of God's resources and gifts.  All of us have received gifts.  I am also reminded from the Corinthians passage that various kinds of gifts, service, and activities, are all really the same thing.  They represent faithfulness in stewardship for God.

One of the most precious resources in any kind of service is time.  How quickly it can get away from us.  I am reminded of how Jesus maximized his time.  It seems that much of his best activity took place in the "interruptions" of his travels and plans.  The disciples were often impatient, but Jesus saw each of these as opportunities to demonstrate the love of God through service and to share God's message.

I am also reminded that ministry is messy.  Jesus was willing to enter into our messy world and our messy lives to restore the stability and beauty of God to them.  The needs, problems, and challenges were endless.  Many who came to Christ were "invisible" to everyone else, whether it was the beggar by the road, the leper, the poor, etc.  Yet, Jesus didn't just hurriedly pronounced a blessing on them and move on.  He gave them his time.  He showed that they were precious to God, that all were precious to God.

I guess it really is not that complicated.  Just slowing down and being with people is huge.  Jesus never seemed to be in such a hurry that he neglected this.  Time, such a simple thing, yet so much can be done when we recognize the value of just a little time. 

I remember reading a little saying that said, "No man on his death bed, surrounded by his loved ones, ever says, "I regret not spending more time at the office."  When you have little time left, suddenly what is most precious becomes vividly clear.  Time devoted to faith, family, and service to people in the name of Christ are what has substance.  Everything else is just a vapor.  The word, "vapor" reminds me of the Hebrew word that appears repeatedly in the book of Ecclesiastes.  It is usually translated "meaningless."  So much of what we think are things of substance have no substance at all.  Many do not realize it until they have wasted most of their time on it.  This is why Qohelet, the author of that book, warns us toward the end of his life not to make the same mistakes he did. 

New Years resolutions?  I am not sure how wise it is to wait until a new year to make resolutions I will not keep.  I only have a limited number of new years in my lifetime.  As long as it is called "today," I need to make the most of our time.  The time is now.

Lord, may I never be in such a hurry to maximize my time that I lose out on the most important and precious things.  Help me to number my days and gain a heart of wisdom.  Help me to slow down and savor life and love.   Help me to be less passive and devote my time to the things of lasting substance that will last beyond this life.  God, you have devoted your time to people.  People, the most precious thing to you.  Help me to learn from Jesus, and to order my time as he did.  Thank you for your patience and mercy. 

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