As we are just a few days into the new year I am not sure we are past the point of making new year’s resolutions. Maybe, you have already failed in some of your new year’s resolution. Or maybe, you are like me and you made one to cut back on desserts for the first three weeks of January to compensate for the last three weeks of December (It is easy to not fail at a resolution if you make it for just a few weeks and you use words like “cut back” instead of “cut out!”). Either way, my prayer for you and I this new year is a rather simple one to pray and not so simple in terms of living out. The prayer is this: “In this new year may we have a deeper faith.”
It is easy to make a resolution about having a deeper faith, but the hard part is living in ways to make that happen. Our sermon series to start the year has been on stewardship. In other words, how have we managed our time, our gifts and abilities, and our money? I could write quite a bit on each of these items, but I wanted to focus in on the issue of time.
Time is the one resource we cannot replenish, we can earn more money and we can learn a new skill, but we cannot add more time to a day. We cannot go back and change the way we use time. We can determine how we will use our time as we move forward.
Maybe you are like me and you often feel like there is not enough time? I could use about five more hours per day. I want to make sure the church/my job gets my best, but I want to make sure my family gets my best. I need to go work out or else I need to eat less (that’s unlikely to happen). I almost forgot I need to spend more time in prayer because my relationship with God is the most important thing in my life. I need some alone time so I can think about all I need to get done. There is just not enough time!
Paul writes about a few ways to view time in Ephesians chapter 5 when he says, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…” Paul begins with a statement that we should not miss. He makes the statement that we are to live as wise people. This seems simple enough, but I believe most of us never ask ourselves if what we are doing is wise or if it is unwise.
Andy Stanley in a sermon used a line that has stuck with me for years and the line is quite simple, “In light of my past experiences, current circumstances, and future hopes and dreams, what’s the wise thing for me to do?” This question gets to the heart of what we value. If growing in a deeper relationship with Jesus is a value for us then this question will help lead us in a direction that takes us to a deeper relationship (I am not discounting the work of God’s Spirit, but am assuming we are recognizing the Spirit is always working). If growing in a relationship with Jesus is not a value then Paul’s words still have some value for us.
Finally, Paul says we are to “make the most of every opportunity.” Are you? Am I? Am I making the most of every opportunity with my wife? My children? My friends? My job? The church? Jesus? This is a question we can ask in terms of nearly every aspect of our life. This is a question that I believe we will all look back one day and hope we can see the answer to this as a “yes.” Let’s not waste another moment.
If you and I will ask ourselves these two questions: 1. In light of your past decisions, your present circumstances, and in view of your future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do? 2. Am I making the most of every opportunity? We will see God work in our lives and when we look back we will not say we wasted our time, but we will find that we will have been wise and we will be able to say we made the most of every opportunity. Join me in this new year in asking these questions!
(Previously Posted in 2016)