This past Sunday, we closed out our a 3-part series called Generosity in All Things. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve examined what the Bible teaches about stewardship in three areas: our time, our talents and our treasures. In this week’s sermon on the topic of time, Pastor Greg introduced the idea of redeeming the time to be used for good. Here, I want to explore more fully what it means to redeem the time and what that might look like in practice.
Vince Lombardi, an American football player and coach, famously said, “We didn’t lose the game, we just ran out of time”. His facetious response signaled his confidence that, were they to have enough time, his team could’ve come out on top. His amusing determination aside, we know, of course, that this wouldn’t really matter. The only thing that matters in the game of football is what the scoreline reads when that play clock hits zero. Friends, I would invite us to consider that the same is true of our own lives. In the stewardship of our time, what ultimately matters is not what we intend to do with our time, but what we actually do with the time we are given. We understand that this life is not indefinite; when Scripture speaks of our lives, we are likened to mist (James 4:14), a breath (Psalm 144:4), relatively nothing in comparison with eternity (Psalm 39:5). To walk wisely would mean to be aware of the limited time we have and be diligent to make the most of it (Ephesians 5:15-16). The unwise, or foolish, will have no sense of urgency, but will instead be mastered by their day, unwilling and unable to produce anything meaningful with their lives (Proverbs 26:13-16). So then, we ask ourselves, what would it mean to be a faithful steward of the time we are given? Here are 3 ways you can do exactly that and redeem the time:
- HAVE A SENSE OF URGENCY WITH YOUR TIME
Embedded in Paul’s instructions about marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, he calls to mind two concepts: “the appointed time” is short (v.29) and the world “is passing away” (v.31). He’s calling people to greater righteousness by reminding them that the time they have is limited and to live for the Day that Christ returns. He’s instilling in them a sense of urgency. The brevity of our lives should cause us to live urgently with the time we have been given.
- PRACTICE FAITHFUL STEWARDSHIP WITH YOUR TIME
How can you do this? Be diligent, be productive and be consistent. Be diligent by working hard and taking captive every moment to be fruitful (Proverbs 10:4). The opposite of diligence is laziness, and laziness will bring ruin to our lives (Proverbs 19:15). The foolish man looks ahead for what he will do and never does. Be diligent to DO! Be productive by wisely and competently making the most of what has been given to you. In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus commends the steward that maximizes his allotment through wise investment. Be industrious your time to do exceedingly bold things for the Kingdom! Lastly, be consistent. A strong start with a poor finish still makes for a bad game. Start strong, sustain and finish well.
- BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR TIME
The Christian life should be overwhelmingly characterized by radical generosity. We are reminded in 1 Timothy 6:17-19 to not hold tightly to what we have been given as our source of hope, but to instead let our only hope in Christ compel us to be generous with it all. Let this be true of our time also. Make sacrifices. Put in that second shift.
So, Christian, redeem the time you have been given. Rest in the certainty that, by his grace, God is restoring and wholly transforming our lives (Titus 2:11-14) to produce the stewardship he calls us to. At the same time, be compelled to take hold of the time you have with urgency, faithfulness and generosity.