ISSUES OF FAITH: Show who you are with how you spend your time

“NO ONE CAN serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other” Luke 16:13.

Walking through the store this week it’s perfectly clear what time of the year it is: Back to school!

Backpacks, pens and pencils, binders and lunch boxes flood the aisles. But that’s not all. It is as if this season is simply an inaugural event.

With the back-to-school supplies hitting the stores you can already begin to see the Halloween candy, the Thanksgiving decorations and you know Christmas ornaments are already on the way.

Gone are the lazy days of summer and we are forced to get back on schedule.

In the days past it was easy for people to show others where their priorities in life were. They just showed their checkbook register and what they spent their money on.

In today’s world, it isn’t like that anymore and not simply because no one knows what a check book register is or what it’s used for.

No, now, it is a lot easier to help others see where they place their priorities by what is on their schedule and where they spend their time.

Is it with their children?

For some, the majority of it is at work.

Unfortunately, a lot of it is spent in front of a screen and navigating apps on a smart phone.

It always surprises me when children as young as 8 or 9 tell me that the one thing they don’t have enough of is time.

Not because they’re riding their bikes until the streetlights go on, but because of the practices, clubs, schoolwork and other commitments they have made.

With childcare being a real issue for parents, many parents use these organizations to supplement after-school care.

Soon the family’s schedule is crammed packed, from 6 a.m. to well after 9 p.m., with little-to-no time for the family or spouses to spend time together instead of chasing down the next scheduled event.

Recently I presided over the funeral of a man who lived 99 years. That’s roughly 1,188 months; 36,135 days; 2,168,100 hours, and not a single one of them can he get back.

Money you can earn back, opportunities come and go, but the moments of your life are irretrievable and once they’re spent … they’re gone.

This truth is unique to time, above all other gifts from God.

Because of the nature of this good gift of God, how you spend your time shows the world and those you love who or what is most important to you.

Our Lord in the Gospel of Luke talks to us about faithfulness to our master.

He tells us that “No one can serve two masters, either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other.”

So who is your master? Are you a slave to an over-packed schedule? When you look at how you spend your time, are you simply spending it on yourself and fleeting experiences? Are you wasting it staring into a screen?

Or are you using it to its fullest, showing that God and your relationship to him matters to you? And flowing from that a love and devotion for your families and those in our community.

How many appointments or events on your calendar involve hearing the word of God, approaching him in prayer, receiving his true presence in the bread and wine of communion, or extending the forgiveness or comfort he has given us through Christ?

After all, you were not given these things simply for your amusement or to squander but to serve (2 Corinthians 5:15; Luke 12:48; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

Many people say they don’t need to go to church to be a Christian.

If that is the case, how many hours a day, or even in a week, do we spend our time doing these things if it isn’t an intentional act of coming together as his body and family?

Time is a scarce commodity and how you spend it matters (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Think of all the time you have been given! What a blessing!

Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God!”

You are freed from the slavery of having to live for yourself or this world, as if it is the only thing you have. You have been purchased from that slavery with a price; the holy and precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:19)!

So, get out your calendars and get organized!

Be intentional about how you live your life and showing who your master is.

I strongly believe that the world has been trying to creep its way into every moment of our lives so that we are “too busy” to live for Christ and for others.

My prayer is that you would take a step back this month, and by the Holy Spirit examine your priorities, rework your schedule, and reclaim your life as being a disciple of Christ our Lord who won you from sin, death and Satan.

To God be the glory!

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Dr. Patrick Lovejoy is pastor at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. He can be contacted at 360-457-4122 or pastorlovejoy @rocketmail.com.

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