Faithlife Sermons

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Some of you can really relate to that video, can’t you?
You’re trying to do your best to have a good family, but it seems that it all comes with too much stress and too little time!
For decades, really, this has been the complaint: The American family is under the thumb of the clock and racing to meet impossible schedules with inadequate minutes.
From 2002 to 2005, before the days of reality TV, UCLA recruited 32 local families who agreed to let themselves be videotaped during every waking, at home moment during a week.
It was a sociological study aimed at a new “species”: The dual-earner, multiple-child, middle-class American household.
They filmed 1, 540 hours of videotape, coding and categorizing every hug, every tantrum, every soul draining search for a missing soccer cleat.
What their 9 million dollar analysis found was that the American family is a fire shower of stress, multitasking, and mutual nitpicking.
Moms still did most of the housework, spending 27% of their time was on it.
Fathers spent 18% of their time doing it, while the kids spent 3% of theirs.
The real stress came, however, not from the amount of house work, but from the combined necessity to manage so many schedules and the inevitable battle of agendas that occur when so many live together.
One anthropologist compared it to a theater production.
Elinor Ochs said that coordinating the family was more complicated than a theatrical production and “there are no rehearsals.”The
videotapes reveal parents as at-home teachers, enforcing homework deadlines.
As coaches and personal trainers, sorting through piles of equipment.
As camp directors, planning play dates and weekend “family time.”
Occasionally, those being filmed would pause to spit into a vial.
Four times a day, the scientists took these saliva specimens and measured the amount of cortisol in each.
(Cortisol is a key hormone associated with stress.)
Needless to say stress was evident.
I am sure that those of you with your kids still at home can definitely relate.
I’m also sure that, very often, the non-stop activity makes you want to say, “Stop this train and let me off!” But, in spite of that desire, we keep signing up for more activities for the kids, taking on more responsibility at work, and repeat the same errors that lead to the problem.
And I know that I’m not telling you something this morning that you are not aware of at some level.
You know that all the stress at home isn’t the way God wants it, but you feel trapped.
You don’t know what to do, so, in many cases, nothing gets done.
This time crisis is met with no response.
These “no responders” try to manage the time crisis by disengaging their responsibility.
They’re just hanging on and counting the days till the nest empties and they get their life back.
Guess what: If you don’t learn to manage that time, it will get no better when your kids all leave, because the problem is not the amount of time you have but the management of that time.
Realizing that, others try to make changes that will recapture some chronological sanity in their lives.
They know that “no response,” is no option, so they try to tinker with the problem.
They make “marginal” responses to the time crunch.
They do it in a number of ways.
Sadly, some try to manage their family time by disengaging from their families.
They have given up on leading their families.
They figure that everyone is just going to be busy, so they are just going to carve out their own little space where they can get away from the madness and be alone.
Ever hear of the “man cave?”
Now, understand that I am not saying that some solitude cannot be helpful, but what I’m talking about is the father or the mother who selfishly withdraws from the family because they can’t stand the stress anymore.
Obviously, that’s a marginal response that doesn’t work long time.
Others don’t disengage from their families, they disengage from the church.
Because they need to find some time on the margins, they’ll spend all their weekends at the beach, or take their Sunday nights to stay home with the family, keeping their teenager from small groups and the very connections that can really make a difference in their lives.
All of these marginal solutions are just that: marginal.
They have little real impact.
What is needed is a meaningful response to the time crunch.
That’s the response you find in Romans 13:11-14.
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand.
Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Paul is writing to the church in Rome.
In what many consider to be the most complete theological explanation ever given of grace, faith and salvation, Paul explains that the wonderful grace of God causes us to make specific changes in the way we live our lives.
One of those, given in these verses, has to do with how we view our time.
I can see about three realizations about time that he gives in these verses.
The first is this:
The Apostle lets us know at the beginning, here, that the fleeting nature of time makes what we do with it urgent.
He has a specific action or specific actions in mind when he speaks of this urgency.
He says in 13:11, And do this.
What is it that he means by “this?”
Well, I think you have to look all the way back to chapter 12 verses 1-2 to see the answer.
We are told there to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God and that we are to be transformed into His image by renewing our minds.
Now when we do that, something amazing happens.
You find it at the end of 12:2: Then (it says) you will be able to test and prove what God’s will is; His good pleasing and perfect will.
This gets right to the heart of time management in our lives.
The reason you and I struggle in time management is this.
If you hear nothing else I say today will you hear me right now.
The reason you are so stressed over time is that you are probably trying to do MORE than it is God’s will for you to do.
Think about it!
There will always be enough time in every day to do everything that God is calling you to do! It’s all about yielding ourselves to Him so that we really get connected with HIS will.
And what does that will look like?
Well, in 12:3-8, we are told that we are to discover God’s unique gift in our lives so that we can serve with great passion.
In 12:9-13 we are told that these gives will cause us to serve each other within the body of Christ.
In 12:17-21, we are to exhibit the grace of God in our lives by returning good for evil, even when we are persecuted for our faith.
In 13:1-7, we are to show the love and humility of Christ by being good citizens within whatever society we may find ourselves, respecting our leaders and obeying the law as long as that law does not contradict the scripture.
Paul gets to 13:8-10 and he summarizes all that he is said by simply saying its all about love.
We are to love others as Christ has loved us.
Then we come to our text in verse 11.
He says And do this . . .
do all of these things showing the love of Christ with one very present and focused awareness.
He says And do this knowing the time.
In other words, “Don’t be lackadaisical about your obedience; realize that this is urgent.
He goes on to give us two word pictures that illustrate the urgency of time.
He says that we should do this knowing the time that now it is high time to wake out of sleep.
That’s the first word picture.
He says that most people, even believers, live their lives sleep walking through life.
They are living this life as if this life was only about this life.
There is no urgency about eternity.
Most people are just trying to get through the day so they can go home from work, collapse in the easy chair, watch reruns of NCIS and consume more calories than they need, before collapsing in bed.
There is no sense of eternal urgency about them.
But for the Christian, there should be that urgency.
You see that with the second word picture he gives he says that The night is far spent, the day is at hand.
I believe that “the night” in this verse speaks of this current world; this temporal age we live in.
Your “three-score plus ten or twenty” that you live here.
Now it is probably the case that Paul is also telling us that, not only is 70 years of life a fairly short thing (those of you approaching 60 can say amen to that!), but we may not even have 70 seconds until the Lord returns.
The night of now is almost over.
Daylight will come before you know it.
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