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Devotion: Time is a Gift

A lot can happen in a year…

On Friday we are celebrating that our sweet Elizabeth Pearl will be one year old…I know, can you believe it?! Time is flying and I feel like I am often just trying to catch my breath as I watch it all unfold around me.

Maybe you can relate, but with each of our children, it seems that time is passing faster and moments, sweet moments are over and done with before I can really savor them. I have been a wife now for 13 years, a pastor for 12, a mother for 7, and yet each year goes by faster than the one before.

Do you often think too, time, slow down?

What are the moments in life you wish to slow down more? Last Sunday as I watched our students and teachers prayed over in worship, I wanted to savor that moment and relive it again. Later that morning, when the Choir was singing “Be Thou My Vision” before the sermon, I wanted to hold onto that moment a little longer too. Or many, many moments with my own children, when they are hugging, or laughing, or singing, or creating…I try and remain present in a bit longer, knowing how fleeting it is.

But is there wisdom in what we prioritize or spend our time what about time as followers of Jesus? How does the Bible suggest that we use time to the best of our ability? Time is a commodity, is it not? How can we steward it well?

When I think about the life of Jesus, I am amazed that the first section of the New Testament really only covers about 3 years of Jesus’ life and ministry. And so much of the Gospel stories are similar stories told with a different voice over those three years.  And then I remember how thankful I am to be starting year four at this church and how much I have grown and learned along the way. And it begs the question, if time seems to fly by the older we get, how do we savor the time God gives us? How do we remain present in the everyday knowing it is a gift, even if it is a challenge?

Jesus taught us a lot about time and modeled for us priorities. In the three years of his life and ministry, we see that Jesus takes a lot of time to converse, eat and pray. He places himself around others and he gets to know their story. He took seriously the holy act of eating as fellowship and slowed down when it came to meal-time. Lastly, he prayed consistently, at odd hours and whenever he was feeling most depleted.

If I take His example and weave it into my life, here are a few things that will change in my rhythm and pattern of life to better emulate the honoring of time that I see lived out by Jesus. First, I will know less people but in a deeper way. I laugh every time I hear someone talk about how Jesus’ best miracle was having 12 close friends in his mid-30’s because it is spot on in my own life as well. At last I checked, I have over 2,200 friends on social media, but hardly any of them know me deeply. Therefore, if I want to honor God with my time, I will spend more time this year with fewer people because I want to know people on a heart-level more than just in a superficial way. I will not avoid friendships of course, but I will prioritize who I pour into most knowing that there is only so much time in the day.

Secondly, I will enjoy eating more. Great idea, right?  I hope I am not the only person that struggles with this, but will choose to slow down and savor my meal and make eye contact with the people I share the table with. I will pray before meals and make the other persons laugh as we share in the meal together. I will think about the hands that grew and cooked the meal I am enjoying and I am going to sit and slow down more while I eat.

Lastly, I will pray more, or should I say, I will worship more. One thing I have started to do more is study the lyrics of the worship songs in my play list. Music is a love language for me anyways and so I have found that when I am lucky or free enough to listen to worship music in the car, when I am parked or at a stop light, I read a bit of the lyrics so that while I sing along it becomes a prayer of sorts.

Ultimately, as a wife, mom and pastor, I am having to reorient every season to a Christ-centered calendar and to really making a conscious effort to honor God with my time. There will never be enough time in life, but when I remember that all of time is God’s gift to us anyways, it takes away some of the pressure and replaces it with grace.

I found these words wise as I reflect on how to best use the time that God has given me and I hope it blesses. This is The Message version from the end of Ecclesiastes 5.

18-20 After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.”

One question to ponder this week, what is one thing you will adjust in your everyday schedule to honor God more with your time?

If you don’t have plans tomorrow, August 17th, I would love for you to bring your own lunch and join me anytime at church between 11am-1pm to unpack this more.

Have a blessed week!