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For the last few weeks, I have been going through a sermon series that highlights the spiritual disciplines.
Donald Whitney calls spiritual disciplines “practices found in scripture that promote the spiritual growth among believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Philip Nation describes them as “a mental and physical act and a habit that expresses our love for God and fosters a greater display of His glory in our lives and a deeper understanding of His character and agenda.”
For believers, God has given us a variety of these spiritual disciplines that help mature us in our faith to deepen and develop our relationship with God and to live out the life that He has for us His children. Just like there is a variety of exercise equipment that targets different areas of our body or puts us through different motions and movements in a gym or fitness center, this variety of spiritual disciplines helps to strengthen our spiritual “muscles,” making us more into the likeness of Christ.
One of the messages that has continued to resonate with me involved a discussion related to the discipline of stewardship. This is in part because so much of the stress that many of us have in our everyday lives is related to this discipline.
Think about this: Do you have the feeling of being overloaded with responsibilities at home, work, school, or even church? How about stress related to paying bills? Are you always running late? Are you going with little rest? Are you struggling to juggle your finances? Maybe a train coming through town or one of those log trucks that we always see in our area has disrupted your entire day.
All of these anxiety producers, and so many other daily issues, deal with one of two things: time or money. And if you desire to live a biblically disciplined life, it requires the disciplined use of both, our time and our money. That is stewardship.
I’ll speak about our financial stewardship in another column, but let’s talk a little bit about time. Here’s the reality about time: we really don’t have time to waste!
Ephesians 5:15-16 states, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
We live wisely when we use every opportunity – making the most of our time – to please and glorify the Lord. Every day and every hour provide opportunities, and you and I should seize them for those purposes.
This should be a priority because, in comparison to eternity, even the longest life is short and we don’t really know how much time we have left.
James 4:13-14 reads, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes…”
Proverbs 27:1 teaches, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”
The truth is that we all live with uncertainty about how much time we have on this earth, and even the time we do have seems so short and fleeting.
Now let me give a brief word of relief for those of you who may be riddled with guilt over the past use of time: do not dwell on misused time in the past. We cannot go back and change our past, but we can make the best use of the time we have remaining.
Here are the words of Jesus, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4).
While we cannot necessarily save time, buy time, or make up time, we can make the best use of our remaining days. You may not have started off well, but know that God will forgive every millisecond of misused time. And consider today an opportunity to make the best use of whatever time you have remaining.
Christopher M. Todd is a Coosa County resident and the pastor of The New Home Missionary Baptist Church near Rockford.