Offering My Time
10 Mar 19
Romans 8 / Eph. 5
As we continue to make our way through the Believe series, remember we’re in the “What We Do” or “What we practice” section - we do these things because of what we believe. If you’re not doing them - start. If you are - what can I learn / how can I improve?
This week’s topic is Offering My Time. We Christians should know more than anyone how precious is time. Time is a gift from God. It’s is temporary – there’s a beginning and an end. We know that no person is guaranteed their next breath. No person is guaranteed tomorrow. Yet, those thoughts often allude us - and we often live without thinking how important this moment is.
The Psalmist wrote
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
The fool either fears or ignores that time is limited. The wise make the most of every opportunity knowing that our days are numbered.
The wise live with a sense of mindfulness - mindful of the moment (which I don’t do very well). But I will say this - I am aware that I am not as mindful as I should be, and I am taking steps to be more mindful - to practice mindfulness (not Buddhist) – just being more aware or mindful of the moment.
So the wise are mindful of time.
Key Idea: I offer my time to God to fulfill His purposes.
When I first read that my mind went immediately to the idea of serving – “Oh man, we get to talk about serving and doing. Yes – I can make people feel guilty for not serving or doing enough!” But as I studied, I realized two things – this is important -
Offering my time to God is not necessarily about doing .
or serving. We’ll come back to that one later.
Offering my time to God is not necessarily linear.
What does that mean? Offering my time is not about minutes or hours or days. It’s not about schedules and calendars or events. It’s not about how much time I devote to serving God or the church ….
That’s linear thinking and Linear thinking is really compartmentalized thinking – we consciously or unconsciously divide our lives into compartments that often don’t seem to have a connection. Here’s prayer compartment / work compartment / chore compartment / church compartment / me compartment / ice-cream compartment and whatever other compartments you may have. That’s linear – that’s time management. When we look at it that way, God doesn’t get very much time.
Linear thinking plays a part in our lives and we can’t discard it altogether - time management or stewardship is very important - but when it comes to offering our time to God, I believe a more
A Biblical approach to time is holistic – not linear.
What do I mean by that?
Let’s talk about time for a moment.
Does the past exist?
No. The past does not exist. It existed, but it no longer does so. Whatever you did this morning, yesterday, 3-years ago is gone. We can remember the past and experience it - but the past no longer exists.
Does the future exist?
No. It’s not here yet. We can anticipate the future and plan for it, but it doesn’t exist yet. So, if the past doesn’t exist and the future doesn’t exist - what are we left with - the nanosecond of the moment. That’s all we really have is the moment.
1) To offer my time (Biblically / holistically) is to offer this moment to God.
To offer my time to God is to live in a perpetual moment by moment availability to whatever God wants to accomplish in the moment.
Remember when I said we often compartmentalize our lives in such a way that the compartments are disconnected? So here’s
The holistic approach is to create a mindset (lifestyle) that is connected (or sensitive) to the Spirit of God at any moment regardless of what compartment I am in.
The Bible calls this walking in the Spirit. So whether I am at work, school, the gym, the store, vacation - there should be a mindful awareness that is tuned into the Holy Spirit. Being tuned in is being mindful of what God might want me to do or learn or be in this moment. I think that’s how Jesus lived - and He wants us to live that way - in a very real but very present relationship our Heavenly Father - moment by moment. Regardless of what compartment we’re in (driving to work compartment …) - God may want to use that moment to teach us or shape or use …. (the nudge to pray while working)
Like I said earlier, it’s not always about doing! Sometimes, God just wants me to rest or find healing or …. So,
Offering my time is about what God wants to do in me or through me at the moment.
Could be physical, spiritual or emotional. See, I offer my time (moment) to God to fulfill His purposes in me or through me.
2) To offer my time (Biblically / holistically) is to offer all my existence to God - past, present and future.
Many people spend an enormous amount of time and energy hiding from their past and running from their future. When we live in guilt, shame, anger, fear etc., it hinders the work of God in our lives and consequently the lives of others. But in Christ, we don’t have to hide or run! Easier said than done - I get that - but it doesn’t negate the truth.
There is a freedom in Christ to not only be free from the past, but a freedom to allow God to use the past in the present or future. God’s grace, love, mercy, forgiveness are all wrapped up in my story, and if I hide my story I hide the enormity and power and the truth of His grace, love, mercy and forgiveness. However, when I am able to look at my past through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and comprehend and receive that His love, death and blood forgave all my sins and the sins done to me, I can then allow God to use my story for His purposes.
And the one who searches our hearts knows what the mindset of the Spirit is, because he intercedes on behalf of the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he should be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined, these he also called, and those whom he called, these he also justified, and those whom he justified, these he also glorified.
All things work together (συνεργέω, synergeō, synergy) - “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
When under the direction of God, your story as a whole is better than just parts of it. For God can use all of it - synergeō (the good and bad) - for good, for what is best and beneficial.
Sometimes, when we hide the worst parts of our story, we hide the best parts of God.
- or so I believe - for where sin increased, grace increased more.
I offer my time - my existence - from the beginning of my life to the end of my life I offer it to the God who loves me, saves me, heals me and sanctifies me - for His glory - His purposes.
How do we do this? How do we offer our time - our moments to God?
Turn to Ephesians chapter 5. It’s important to note that the Apostle Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament letters, often put theology at the beginning portion of his letters and application at the end. We see this very well in Ephesians. Chapters 1-3 are theological. Chapters 4-6 are practical. Keep that in mind.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
To be very careful is a verb and in present tense - something we do in the present continuously - it’s intentional - something to work at. It means to be observant, pay attention, be aware, be mindful.
To be mindful of what? How we live - literally how we walk. How do we walk? One step at a time - moment by moment. Be aware of the moment I am in right now. Be aware of emotions, joys, dangers, people ….
… not as unwise (a fool) but as wise … be skilled at living in the moment - of being aware. (Multi-function vs. multi-focus)
making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Remember when I said chapters 4-6 were practical? Starting in chapter 4, Paul writes about life - unity in the Body of Christ, being servants and ministers, living as children of light and not darkness, being imitators of God and living a life of love, avoiding all kinds of evil - and then he says be careful how we live … and then writes about family, wives and husbands and children, fathers, slaves and then he ends with spiritual warfare.
I find that interesting. It seems like God is telling us that in the middle of life - in the middle of church, family, work, hospitals and choir concerts and football games - spiritual and physical, God says be very careful how you live - make the most of every opportunity. Carpe diem.
Let me summarize - offering our time to God is not necessarily linear or about doing - it’s about being available at any given moment to fulfill His purposes - whatever God wants to do in me or through me.
Let’s take a moment and listen.
What is the Spirit of God saying to you?
A C B
Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.