“It's About Time”


by Adah L. Hutchcraft


THE STEWARDSHIP OF TIME


       Time is a stewardship intended for the Glory of God. Do not think that actions and thoughts go unnoticed by him -- the Lord is very sensitive to what people give their attention to. How people spend their time bears great consequence, not only for life but for eternity. Indeed, Eternity will be the greatest expositor on how our time was spent on earth.

       In Jesus’ parable of the talents, the master judged his servants according to how they used their time while he was away, whether they multiplied or buried the talents entrusted to them. Although the servants were given various portions to take care of, they were all stewards. They were expected to use their time wisely, increasing their master's profit while he was away. The servants progress revealed how well their time was spent. Those who gained profit for their master were rewarded with these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness! (Matthew 25:21). This is the outcome of one who spends his or her time working in the Kingdom bearing good fruit for God’s glory. But the servant who buried his talent was rebuked: ‘You wicked, lazy servant! Throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth' (Mat 25:27, 30). Because he had mismanaged his master’s goods, the slothful servant’s talents were given to another and he was thrown out of the master’s house. The same applies to those who neglect or abuse God’s gifts (whether in the spirit or in the body) by misusing their time.

Time is a gift from God to be used making advancement in the Kingdom. From a spiritual perspective, the key to spending time wisely is not found in a list “how to’s”. Good stewardship of time is the product of a heavenly mind set. This concept speaks of more than figuring out work schedules and conducting daily events. The godly see life much as Christ does– a gift to be used for God’s glory. Whether it be time with family, with friends, at work or alone, Christ is first and foremost. When the Lord is master of one’s life, everything else falls into its proper place.  This is what makes a person with a heavenly mind set profitable in God’s Kingdom and therefore a good steward of time. Christ will say of such a one, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of the Lord!’

In Times Past

Along with spiritual maturity comes the potent awareness of what we were without God. “All of us...at one time gratified the cravings of our sinful nature and followed its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath" (Eph 2:3). The more mature a believer becomes the more conscious they are of their time. This works to our advantage because understanding that sin yields nothing but death encourages believers to live righteously and not revert back into sin. “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!" (Rom 6:21). With this spiritual understanding is the joy of seeing how great a chasm Christ bridged to bring us to God, along with the peace in knowing the sin that once consumed our time is now purged and forgotten; God’s mercy is amplified in light of this truth. “Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy...”(Rom 11:30). Although God himself is not bound by time, he is intensely aware of how people spend it– whether for righteousness or for evil. Time is precious to God, hence time is also precious to believers -- not a thing to be wasted on sinful deeds or desires. “No longer... live the rest of [your] time in the flesh no longer by human passions, but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:2).

What Time Is It?

Christ dominates the motives, deeds, and priorities of believers. Still, care and duty compete for their attention. Much of what distracts people is, in its proper place, good and healthy. Church, family, and responsibility require our devotion and care, for these are a stewardship from God. But Christians must be alert and maintain spiritual sensitivity so that the ‘cares of the world’ do not choke out the Word of God (Mark 4:19). Church and family will not go untouched if God consumes your life, but church and family will leave God untouched if he is not at the center of them. God will not be first if he is not everything.

When our hearts belong to the Lord our attention and time naturally do as well. Considering daily needs and responsibilities, many express the need to rightfully divide their time between God, church, and family. But it is not so much a matter of dividing our time as it is a matter of wholly committing our time, and to whom we commit it. This is very important to understand because it will not only enable one to serve Christian brethren and family better, it will also provide the strength to live righteously is the midst of a hard-hearted family or when churches suffer dissensions. If then you have devoted your time entirely to God and his will, you will be able to stand strong when trouble comes, and others will see God through your love and good works.

Salvation requires believers to make the most of their time in a godless world, taking every opportunity to be fed spiritually and exhort one another in the Lord. "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil...do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:15-17).  Believers are refined throughout the time God gives them on earth.  The study of God’s Word and the assembling of saints is needed for spiritual progress. Those who devote themselves to Christ, taking every opportunity ground themselves in the Truth, will be rewarded by God for faithfully enduring the test of time. And so it certainly can be said, it is ‘high time’ to take every opportunity for spiritual maturity and for weeding out what is unprofitable.

Just In Time

Spend your time so that when Jesus comes you do not find out you spent it on the wrong things. There is coming a day when time will be no more. The fact that time exists proves this world is temporary. Everything on earth has an end. One day the earth itself will be consumed in the glory of Christ. So use your time on earth to store up what is ‘unworldly’- the riches of Christ Jesus. The heavenly treasure he gives is eternal, and moth and rust cannot destroy it. Those who love the world will lose everything they trust in, but God’s gift will last the test of time.

Family is precious, but remember that earthly ties are temporary. Worldly thinking praises the Church as an Institution, but God delights in those who seek his praise and not the praise of others. Spend time wisely, developing godly relationships and desires, and shining the light of Christ for those who do not yet see him. Always remember, time devoted to God is time well spent!