Such a frenzied lifestyle has consequences. Health can suffer, relationships can become strained, family members can become neglected, opportunities for ministry curtailed, fellowship with God interrupted, models for life communicated that we never intended. As we become too focused on the things of earth, we lose sight of the things of heaven. In relationships alone, at work or in the neighbourhood, we can easily lose sight of what is important to God. Banks suggests that our failure to be good stewards of time can have negative consequences for relationships in very subtle ways:
With respect to time, Christians are a good deal worse off than many. This is especially the case if they live in a large city, belong to the middle-classes, have managerial or professional positions, or combine outside employment with substantial household responsibilities.Christians and people raised in a Christian setting tend to take their work more seriously than others. They also place a high value on family obligations. And they are often in the forefront of community and charitable associations. The upshot of this commitment to work, community and family is, as my eldest son commented: ‘Christians are like trains—always on the move, always in a rush, and always late.'
Consequently our encounters with others are becoming more and more limited and instrumental. We associate rather than interrelate, hold ourselves back rather than open ourselves up, pass on or steal by one another rather than pause and linger awhile. The number of our close friends drops and the quality of our married life diminishesWhy do we stay so busy?
Somehow, we need to remind ourselves that life on this earth is fleeting and short (Psalm 39:4-5), that God has plans for our time, and in fact he has appointed times for all things (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). We should understand that God makes all things beautiful in his time and that we should enjoy the things that he has given us (Ecclesiastes 3:9-13). There is also a responsibility to use our time wisely with full knowledge that the day of the Lord fast approaches; we need to avoid the lure of the desires of the flesh (Romans 13:11-14). Paul urged the Ephesian church to be careful with their lives and their time:
- Some are busy due to personal circumstances which may be out of their control. If you are a single parent with little family support who has to work to live then there will be less time to do all that life requires.
- For some, work has an unhealthy hold on us and is far too central to our sense of self worth and identity.
- Some have an unhealthy sense of their own worth and assume that if they don't do things that no-one else will be able to.
- Others may be busy simply because they want so much materially, that longer hours, and maybe even a second job, seem necessary to feed our need for things.
- Some may make themselves busy at work to avoid doing things they find harder (e.g. staying longer at the office to avoid providing child care, domestic chores etc at home).
- Selfish ambition or perfectionism can drive us to give an unhealthy amount of time to work.
- Others may have addictions that act as 'black holes' sucking large amounts of time from our lives (e.g. online shopping, social media, blogging, gambling etc) and not leaving time for others.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17).The phrase that Paul uses "making the best use of" can also mean to "redeem" or "purchase". We need to get back lost time, or use it well.
Being a good steward of the time God gives is not really a matter guarding the minutes so we can spend our time productively. Certainly we need to wisely use our time, but even more importantly we need to have a grasp of time in the sense of understanding the great events of God in history, past, present, and future as they are set forth in Scripture in the grand scheme of the plan of God.We are citizens of heaven living on earth for but a short time as "sojourners and exiles" (1 Peter 2:11). This should change our attitude to how we use our time. It is a time of darkness that will throw up untold challenges as we battle with the desires of the flesh. As we await the Lord's return we are to act as ambassadors for Christ, seeking to make disciples of all of the nations (Matthew 28:19-20).
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Comments will be approved before showing up.