Monday, February 23, 2015

Becoming Like God...In His Honor (1 of 3)

This week's discipline is the Discipline of Stewardship. Now when most people hear the word stewardship, they think of money. And that is an area of stewardship. But we are stewards of our lives in general. Thus, our time, our talents, and our treasure belong to God. So last week - about Service - was like a Part 1 and this is Part 2.

Many claim that pastors always talk about money. That may be true, but the Bible says more about money than heaven and hell combined. It says more about money than most subjects. Why? Because people need to be constantly reminded. So maybe preachers talk about money a lot, but if they do, I hope it is because they are relaying God's message as found in the Bible. But this week's posts include both time (first) and money (second). We must be disciplined in both. At the end of the week, I will post some potential applications related to both.

The Disciplined Use of Time
Read John 17.4.

God has a purpose for each of us. The question then is, Are we fulfilling it? Let me give you ten thoughts on being disciplined with your time. These reasons are actually derived from a sermon given some 250 years ago by Jonathon Edwards entitled: “The Preciousness of Time and the Importance of Redeeming It.”

We must use time wisely...

1) “Because the Days are Evil”.  Ephesians 5.15-16 provides this insight. Of course, a "day" itself isn't evil but what happens during it, certainly can be. How can we overcome? Colossians 3.2 instructs us to “set your minds on things above.” This will help us discipline our thoughts even as evil is all around us.

2) To Prepare for Eternity.  2 Corinthians 6.2 says today is the day of salvation. The reality is that you don't  get a second chance to live your life once you die. And you also don't get a second chance to settle your eternal destination. Once you die, the time to choose is past. Choose now. And choose wisely.

3) Time is Short.  James 4.14 reminds us that despite our plans, we are not promised tomorrow. Even for the young, one day, the time will run out. As we age, we value time more, because like the basic economic principles of supply and demand, those who are older recognize that, generally, less time remains. The young, who are wise, will remember that time is short, and plans their lives accordingly.

4) Time is Passing.  1 John 2.17 promised the world will pass away, and with it the principle of time. But practically the passage of time, like the sand in an hourglass, rushed on day after day. We truly can't "save time", "buy time", or even "make up time"? Rather, as Steve Miller once sang, time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.

5) Remaining Time is Uncertain.  Proverbs 27.1, like James 4.14, should make us realize that ur time is in his hands, not ours. Most people who die have no idea there time is coming to an end. And yet, based on current death estimate, for 1.78 people/second, 107/minute, 6420/hour; and 154,080 each day, there will be no tomorrow.

6) Time Lost Cannot Be Regained.  John 9.4 is Jesus statement not to waste time. We have all wasted countless time, and unfortunately no one sells "time insurance". We may not be able to recover the past, but as Paul wrote in Philippians 3:13-14, we must forget what is behind (though we must learn from it), and strive towards a better future.

7) Accountable to God for our Time.  Romans 14.12 says we will all give an account of our lives to God. Yes, we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2.8-9), but 1 Corinthians 3.13-15 reveals that our works will be weighed in eternity.

8) Time is Easily Lost.  Proverbs 26.13-14 is a great piece of Scripture revealing the absurdity of never ending excuses. Proverbs 24.33-34 shows that like most things in life, we don't choose to lose in big ways, but rather just little by little. Yet over time, all of the "littles" add up to a lot.

9) Time is Valued at Death.  Rather than waiting until death, we must learn to value it now. This idea is continued in number 10.

10) Time's Value in Eternity.  Luke 16.22-25 is Jesus' story of a man who wished for a little more time to go back and make things right, if not for him, at least for his family and friends. But his time was up. The value of time was not learned until time, for him, was no more. See again, #2, above.

Having looked at these ten principles encouraging us to consider using our time wisely, in the second post this week, we will review what it means to be disciplined with our money.

*This series of posts is adapted from Donald Whitney's book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.

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