Friday, 27 April 2018

Time and Stewardship

Christians believe all time is a gift from God.  So often, we talk and function as if time belongs to us and yet we are called to be wise and just stewards of time. These days, one can do so many seminars, courses and read so much on time management. We often can hear people talking and making comments such as “He/she is good at wasting her/his time; they are hopeless, never on time and they waste so much time!” I heard of someone in a family referring to their brother as “Uncle Not Today”; because every time they suggested they do something his reply, often, was “not today!”

I remember someone saying something along these lines, “The more labour saving devices we have the busier we become, and time just seems to fly.” We live in an “instant” age. These days, many people expect things to happen right now. We seem to be at the beck and call of mobiles phones, tablets; we can have instant photographs when we want them. With DVD, the Internet, Netflix, live streaming, Foxtel or Austar we can have movies on demand. There are also instant meals which may or may not be okay for our nutrition. This raises the question of whether we are becoming a society of impatient people who are missing the joy of allowing things to take place over time.

However, there are some things that just take time. If we think about pregnancy, it is a time of waiting for about nine months. Children generally meet the “milestones” of life over a period of time. Maybe we need to hear the words of Ecclesiastes several times to remind us about time – a time for this and a time for that. In scripture the word time is used 900 times. In John 7, we read that Jesus said the right time had not come. Jesus understood the importance of time in regard to his earthly life.

So, for Christians the call is that we need to be a wise steward of time. Prayer takes time.  People say that God does not speak to them, but when reflecting on that, the question arises as to whether it is because we are giving God the time to speak to us. It is important that we allow ourselves time to listen to God. Discerning the will of God is not always easy, but our experience as Christians tells us that if we wait on God over time then God will lead.

Time is important as we only have it once. If we don’t use time when we have it, we won’t have it again. So, while timing is important, making the most of the opportunities we have is just as important. Time is opportunity and a gift to be used to the full at the instant. Time, we need time to pray. Time, we need time to read and study the scriptures. Time is not only a gift but a blessing such as the right use of the Sabbath. Time is God’s gift and we are called to be wise stewards of the gift of time.

How do we react to people who believe waste time? Have we ever pondered why we react in particular ways? Do we actually see time as a gift and a blessing? A blessing from God so that we use our time to effectively? For those of us who are Christian we need to recapture that meaning of the Sabbath and understand our own response.  

The book of Ecclesiastes makes it clear that there are special times for certain events in life. This can be expressed as making the most of each opportunity that comes our way and it is important for us to take those opportunities and celebrate life. For Christians our Gospels tell us that Jesus said that his time had not come. Timing is important and there are benefits of waiting on God. It is important for us as Christians to reflect on those benefits of waiting on God and the challenges that will bring for us.

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