By: Rev. Bryan Crotts, First ARP Church in Burlington, NC.
Have you seen the cartoon with a man sitting at his desk, his boss standing over him? The boss says, “So Smith, we’ve discovered you have a personal life and we’re not happy about it!” Every one of us has the same amount of time each week – 168 hours. Most of us could use more of it. A major question Christians must have a good answer to is this: how do I spend my time based on what God’s Word calls obedience? Think about your week.
Christ mentions there is urgency to speak the Gospel (John 9:4). In Ecclesiastes 12, Solomon speaks of time in a serious manner: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Paul tells the Ephesian church (5:15-16) to be careful how they spend their time!
Time is important. Our time is important to God! He is the giver of time. Evaluate your week, your family schedule. Are you personally spending time with God? Does your family schedule the week around the times that the church gathers? Are you constantly pressured with deadlines that are for matters trivial to life and godliness? Live your life by biblical priorities and I bet you’ll trim some fat from your schedule.
Every Sunday evening or Monday morning, sit down with your calendar. Consider and pray over the following: Am I spending time personally with God? Am I taking care of my own personal needs? Am I being responsible to my family or those that depend on me? Am I doing my job well? Am I serving my church? Do I take time to care for my neighbor?
If you read all of Paul’s words to the church concerning spiritual gifts, you might could paraphrase what he says in this way: God gives gifts/talents to his people for their use to bring Himself glory and so that we might encourage & help our fellow man. God uses all sorts of people with all sorts of talents to get the work of the church done. This year in our church: someone has scraped gum from every pew rack, a hurting member has been personally comforted by the words of another, meals have been delivered to those who cannot cook, there are those who pray for each member by name each day, 8 men repaired six hundred feet of gutter, and countless other tasks. And not a one of them, mentioned or not, is insignificant in God’s sight!
Ask the Lord to reveal to you the gifts he has created in you. Do this by reading your Bible, praying and considering how your talents could be used for the Lord in your church! Employ those gifts and develop them further.
One has to wonder if the little boy who provided the loaves & fishes for Christ would have asked for a tax receipt if it had been this era! God has richly given to us all that we have. Psalm 24 speaks of God’s creation of all things, but also his care for what he made. The psalmist seems to indicate that God owns what we have and so we should give as our hearts are compelled by his grace & gifts to do so.
The famous John Wesley wisely said that one should, “Earn some, spend some, save some and give some!” We do well with the spending part – life is not cheap! Earning “some” is likely most of our life situations – we haven’t struck it rich. Saving is a difficult concept in our consumer world. How about giving? Do we give to the work of the church?
It is usually true that 80% of the church’s finances and manpower come from 20% of the people. This is a sad figure! Not a one of us has more hours in the day or week than another. All of us have been given gifts and talents by God. And in His wisdom they are different gifts so that when put together, what a powerful team for the Lord. Finally, every one of us can give of our resources at some level. There seems to be a biblical principle in giving 10% of one’s income to the work of the church. Not all may be at that level. Others may be able to give even more! We can all contribute something. Consider the widow Christ told of – she gave all that she had!
God wants your all – your time, talents and resources. It is an act of worship to the Great Provider.