The Gift Of Time

  By Bob Brubaker  |  

There is something in which we are all created equal no matter where we live, no matter what our background; we all have twenty-four hours a day, or 168 hours a week. Time is the great equalizing factor. Even though we all have the same amount of time, there are those who make the most of their time and accomplish much. Sadly, this number seems to be the minority as on the other hand there are many who waste most of their time and wonder why they accomplish little.

How would you score your stewardship of the 168 hours a week that has been placed  in your hands for which to make the most?

In case you are need a refresher course on stewardship, consider the parable that Jesus told:

Matthew 25:14–30 (ESV) — 14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

God is clear in His Word that He expects us to make the most of whatever He places in our hands, albeit time, treasure, or talent. He is the owner and we are simply stewards of His riches. It may be a new concept since most of us feel or at least act like our time is something that belongs to us to with which to do as we please. Look again at the parable above that Jesus told. Anything that He, the Owner and Master, places in our trust, He is looking for a return on His investment.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV) 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

You may not have thought about time in that light.  Most people seem to complain that they just don’t have enough time because there seems to be so much to be done and so little time in which to accomplish the many tasks.  As with all things God gives to us, we should show our appreciation and submission to Him by making the most of the gift of time.

Colossians 4:5 (ESV) Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

Let’s face it. Even though we have many time saving devices today, too often we get caught in the trap procrastinating the things that could or should be done in lieu of just wasting time. When you think about it, whatever the cause of wasting time, it robs from us the precious commodity of which we have a limited supply, namely: time.  The Bible is clear about falling prey to things that steal our time.

Proverbs 24:33-34 (ESV) 33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

Since time can be stolen when wasted, then it makes sense to apply the wisdom of God and make the best use of our time. As you think about time or what seems to be your lack of it, have you ever taken a serious look at your week so as to get a handle on where exactly your time went? If you are having trouble with time management, then it is recommended you keep a log of your time for a week, writing down all that you did and when. This will help you identify the places where the time thief has stolen your precious and non-replaceable commodity. This is the same coaching technique used to help people lose weight. (A person can get all kinds of good advice about losing weight, but applying it is often hard until they make an eating diary and log everything they eat for a week. A coach or friend can look over the diary and point out where adding a little discipline here and there can make a big difference in a person’s quest to lose some pounds.) In the same way, a coach or friend can look at your weekly time log and find where time is being stolen from you, but you will more than likely be able to see it for yourself. However, a coach or a friend will give you the added incentive to apply what you see in those little spaces you could be filled with profitable ventures rather than just sitting, or falling prey to time wasters.

If you are serious about making changes to make the best use of your time, then begin today with a diary of your use of time for a week. Don’t just pass over this exercise. It will help you get a handle on where your time is actually spent. It will also help you see what can be changed to get more out of your time.

Of course, nobody can work 24 hours a day. There is time for rest and other down times for regrouping and relaxing. If we aren’t careful, the time thief will distract us from returning from those times and the next thing you know we have lost our focus and missed out on what we had planned or needed to do.

No wonder God equates our getting serious about time management as waking out of sleep. He says it’s time now to awake and get serious about making the most of your time.

Romans 13:11 (ESV) Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

There is not a person who would feel comfortable if they had to give an account of the use of God’s gift of time. What if your real-time schedule (that which really took place) was flashed on the wall as you walked into the worship service on Sunday? How would you feel if everyone knew how you used the past 168 hours? Remember, God knows and that is why God in His mercy calls us to repentance (change) when He shows us where we need to change by His Word. His Word is very clear that we need to apply our hearts to wisdom and make the most of our time.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV) 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

It’s amazing to think of how little time we actually devote to God – to the reading of His word and praying, to ministering to others, or spending time in worship and fellowship with the local church. Are you even close to a tithe of your time?  One tenth of 168 hours would be 16.8 hours a week. Like anything else – finances, talent, and our time -when we begin with dedication in making sure that we are giving to God first, then everything else falls into place. On the other hand, when we squander what belongs to God, then we find ourselves living in a constant “shortfall.”

Proverbs 3:5–10 (ESV) — 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

Let’s face it – we could all use a little help in organizing our time. Just talking about it won’t make a difference, but applying ourselves to serious inspection of our time, noting those things that rob us of time, and making needed changes will make a big difference. Like every other aspect of life, it takes personal discipline, a daily dying to self, and offering our time in submission to our King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 9:23 (ESV) And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Get serious about time management by considering every moment of the day as God’s gift over which He has made you a steward, for which you and I must give an accounting of how we used our time.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

 

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