We use the word “spending” when referring to how we use our time. I believe this is an appropriate word because time is a commodity that we have a limited amount of in much the same way money is. My only real currency in this life is time. How I spend each minute investing not only in the world I exist but investing in my ultimate “retirement” in the Kingdom of God.
We have the chance to not only spend our time, but invest it. I have a finite amount of time here on this earth. Ephesians 5:16 says that I should “redeem” time. Redeem is an accounting term. It’s financial in nature. When I redeem a coupon or gift card I hand it in and get something in exchange for it. That’s the picture that Paul is painting with redeeming the time.
I have spent money on some stuff that was worth it, and I have spent money on stuff that wasn’t. (Anyone ever order those fat burning pills from the infomercials?)
Each and every minute I have I am spending on something. Following that metaphor I get something in exchange for that time spent. I spend that minute on something that brings joy or on something that brings pain. I spend it at my job being productive or being wasteful. It might be something that entertains or exhorts or something that focuses or distracts. It’s a minute spent that either brings reward eternally or is a minute that 2 Cor 5 says will be burned up. The stuff that is left behind, that doesn’t burn up, that’s the pure stuff, the gold, the time well spent.
Jesus said who by worrying can add one moment to your life? (Matthew 6:27 New Living) That’s an interesting thought. Adding a moment to your life. At 7:53am on Aug 14 I understood perfectly the desire to add a moment to life. That was the minute my mom breathed her last breath. It was a poignant thought because my mom was a worrier. And all of the worrying in fact did not add a minute to her life.
Her time was up at 61 years and 7 months. For those keeping track that’s:
It all seems like so much; until you’re 32,363,999 minutes in.
In the last couple of weeks of her life I found myself wanting to spend as much time as possible with her. I knew she was dying and I had this desire to be there as much as possible night and day. Ultimately I wanted to make up for lost time.
I learned something. I couldn’t. That time that was spent was gone. There was no going back and scrounging up more time. There was no way to call redo. It was made bittersweet by the fact that she was in a medically induced coma. She was there, but she wasn’t. I had squandered many opportunities because of pride, arrogance, or just plain selfishness. The time I had left with her was well spent, but to say I wanted more for my money would be an understatement.
I think what I learned but couldn’t necessarily articulate was that I have an amount of time. I don’t know how many minutes I get, but once they’re gone it’s over.
Jesus made that statement about adding a moment to my life in the context of not laying up for myself treasures on earth. It was in the context of not worrying what I will eat or drink. It was in the context of no man serving two masters. It’s interesting to note that he sets up the juxtaposition between God and mammon (money) and not between God and Satan.
I find it personally appropriate because when I think about the things that God has put on my heart I wonder how I could accomplish it, or how I could feed my family if I did that, or what if I end up doing this for the Lord.
It’s easy to spend my minutes chasing provision but Jesus is suggesting that is not time well spent. Even the pagans do that He said. Instead I should spend my time pursuing Him and He’ll take care of the rest. I see how it looks when I take a step back and read chapters 5, 6, 7. (AKA The Beautitudes) I see that my time is well invested in loving my wife and being faithful to her, in being salt and light to the world, in giving to the needy, in praying, in loving.
One day it’s guaranteed that you and I who have followed Christ will stand before Him as our judge. In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul uses the metaphor of the Bema seat, the place where a judge would sit on the finish line of a race and declare the winner. It’s not a throne of punishment like the Great White Throne spoken of in Revelation but this is a throne of reward.
I am about 19,879,200 minutes into this life. I have invested some of that time wisely. They are the minutes I’m the most proud of. The times that I have invested for the Kingdom, the times I’ve spent with my children modeling Christ for them, the times I have loved my wife well as an ambassador of Christ to her, the minutes I’ve spent praying and seeking the Lord, the time in Africa or in Columbia, TN, the time I’ve spent giving my money. To put it simply the times my life has matched up with Matthew 5-7.
I have invested too much of it poorly with works that Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5 that will be burned up in fire; it’s the hay and stubble. It’s worthless. Paul says that what is left after this fire is the purity. The gold. It’s the stuff from Matthew 5-7. That’s what I’ll be rewarded for in Heaven.
The Bible says that Jesus will wipe away our tears in Heaven, it does not say there won’t be any tears. What pray tell would we have tears over? Perhaps over all the minutes wasted.
If I’m lucky enough to get another 19,879,200 minutes then I pray I’ll spend them better than I spent the first 20 million.
Monday night at 6:30 we are gathering at New River Fellowship for Food for Famine. Admittedly I’m personally biased, but I think this is a good use of your time. For $10 a person you get a great meal and great entertainment AND you get to know that your money will feed children in Haiti. (kids are welcome at $5 each) It’s a great way to spend the night and you’ll know that not only will your belly be full, but so will the bellies of some of our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
If you can’t make it but still want to participate you can go to http://www.conduitmission.org and hit the “donate” button. Just put Haiti in the subject line when sending payment. In less than month your money will be at working feeding those who can’t pay to feed themselves. Just $15 feeds a child for a month. Pray about it.
Hope to see you tomorrow night.
http://www.darrentyler.podomatic.com (the podcast for monday nights teachings)