Stewards of God’s Time



            Paul in his writing to the church at Corinth recognized his own responsibilities as a steward or servant of God in I Corinthians 4:1-2 “LET A MAN SO ACCOUNT OF US, AS OF THE MINISTERS OF CHRIST, AND STEWARDS OF THE MYSTERIES OF GOD.  MOREOVER IT IS REQUIRED IN STEWARDS THAT A MAN BE FOUND FAITHFUL.

            When we look to choose men to lead our congregation we are instructed by Paul to likewise seek those who are good stewards:  “FOR A BISHOP MUST BE BLAMELESS, AS THE STEWARD OF GOD; NOT SELF-WILLED,…  Titus 1:7

            When we think of stewardship, we probably think of the teaching of Jesus in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 or the parable of the pounds in Luke 19.  Then when the preacher mentions stewardship we usually cringe because we know he’s going to mention one of man’s most sensitive attributes, his pocketbook.  But our material possessions, that commodity that we keep in our billfold or purse is a renewable resource, I want us to take just a few moments to think about a God-given resource that is not renewable.  A God given resource that we probably do not typically think about when we do a self-evaluation and think about being good stewards.  I want us to think about time.

            God gives each of us 168 hours each week.  When we spend it, it’s gone, we cannot reclaim it, we cannot reuse it, we can only hope that God gives us another allowance tomorrow or next week.  How are you spending God’s time?  It is God’s you know; none of us earn it, nobody can generate it, what do we spend it on?

            Paul tells us “SEE THEN THAT YE WALK CIRCUMSPECTLY, NOT AS FOOLS, BUT AS WISE, REDEEMING THE TIME, BECAUSE THE DAYS ARE EVIL.”  Ephesians 5:16  WALK IN WISDOM TOWARD THEM THAT ARE WITHOUT, REDEEMING THE TIME.”  Colossians 4:5  The meaning of the original language translated “redeem” or “redeeming” is to “buy up the opportunity”.  We are to use God’s time to buy up opportunity, but opportunity to do what?

            Most normal folks will spend about a third of God’s time resting their bodies or sleeping.  Oh, I worked for a man once who claimed that anyone sleeping more than four hours was wasting time but our bodies need a normal amount of rest.  About another third will be spent working, keeping house or doing the litany of things required to keep a household.  What are we doing with the other third?  We have more labor and time saving devices today than ever in the history of mankind.  We could name hundreds of them that through God’s providence and blessings have come into existence just in my lifetime.  Are we spending all of this time we’re saving in service to God or to His glory or are we spending it on our own pleasures and wishes?  I think I know the answer, you do too, and so does our Lord God.

            We have even taken the idea of saving time and applied it to our spiritual lives in the same fashion as we have our physical lives.  But at the same time I doubt that we have counted the cost.  The saving of time in the spiritual realm is not without a serious price to be paid relative to our spiritual growth and the carrying out of God’s will in many areas.  Let’s look at some examples:

            Gospel meetings:  When I was a boy and for several years thereafter gospel meetings were scheduled for at least a week and some longer.  Now the norm is three or four days with weekend meetings and one-day meetings and lectureships becoming more and more popular.

            Vacation Bible Schools:  Again they were always planned for a week, but more and more we’re becoming accustomed to four days or even less.

            Study of God’s word:  There isn’t a teacher in this congregation who can’t tell who has studied their lesson and who hasn’t and too many haven’t.  There’s an old country song called “Dust on the Bible” that several years ago was made into a sermon; a sermon that has been presented here.  When it comes to personal Bible study how much dust would be on your Bible if you didn’t pick it up and carry it to “church” every week.  Yes, we may be saving a lot of time but what price are we paying spiritually?

            In our Worship Services:  When I was a boy, it the preacher didn’t present a lesson for an hour he wasn’t considered to be doing his job.  What about today?  Thirty or thirty-five minutes is about the limit that most folks will tolerate and we seem to love those even more that are only 18-20 minutes long.  In fact if the preacher carries on for as much as 40 minutes he’ll probably see people looking at their watches all over the congregation. 

We’ve done the same thing to our worship in song.  We’re spending more time with the little one verse songs that have been written for the praise teams and contemporary worship churches.  Or, if we sing one of the old standard psalms, hymns or spiritual songs that Ephesians 5:19 commands us to sing; we sing only a verse or two.  Are we saving time or are we shortchanging God and showing our real attitude toward him in our worship?

Unfortunately, in a devotional lesson that is expected to be short we don’t have the time to talk about all those works of the church that need to be done, all of the teaching, evangelism, or the simple things concerning the physical and spiritual well being of the congregation that need our attention.  How many times have we told our elders, deacons, preacher or Bible school teacher that we just don’t have time?  What are we doing with God’s time?

How foolish it is to pay a spiritual price for the time we save.  If we would act wisely rather than foolishly we would be giving more of our time to spiritual things, not less.  We are living in “perilous times” spiritually.  We need to follow the admonition of Paul to the church at Corinth:  ‘THEREFORE, MY BELOVED BRETHREN, BE YE STEADFAST, UNMOVABLE, ALWAYS ABOUNDING IN THE WORK OF THE LORD, FORASMUCH AS YE KNOW THAT YOUR LABOUR IS NOT IN VAIN IN THE LORD.”  I Corinthians 15:58