Hey church! As we march on in our Stewardship campaign and adjacent blog posts I thought I would elaborate on one of the offerings that Joyce and I say on Sunday during offering time. For reference, we often say you can give of your "time, talent, and treasure." I truly believe that a commitment of your time and talent is equally valuable to our church than any dollar amount. Money is good, and necessary for daily operations, but without the volunteer strength behind us we cannot engage that money as we would like to.
What are some ways in which you can offer your time to the church? Worship is most obvious, but equally valuable is Bible Studies such as the Journey's class being taught by outreach chair, Mark Muntean presently. Further, you can help decorate the church for Advent on November 27th starting at 3pm and ending around 6pm. Further, you might write some cards to members with our membership care team, or go to the food bank or Bread on Bridge with our Outreach team. To give your time is different from your talents. It doesn't need to be a leadership position or a team ministry, it's simply giving more time of your day / week to the study and building of your relationship with Christ. I'll share some thoughts down below with scripture - but for now let's get grounded with the Bible!
Scripture to Read
How valuable is our time? The most valuable thing we have, I believe. Ironically, we live in a time where the sheer number of time wasters are exhausting. Social media, news feeds, entertainment services, and video games are all programmed in such a way to maximize our engagement time and keep us trapped in the loop of scrolling, watching, playing. Consider the following thought from a pastor friend of mine who serves a church in Niles.
"Our average service time on a Sunday morning is 45 minutes. Let’s say the average church member also attends one meeting, fellowship opportunity, or mission event per week for another hour or so.
That’s a bit more than 3.75 days per year in or with church.
Nielson ratings found that US citizens with a Netflix subscription (52%) watched 3.2 hours of content per day in 2020 (up from 2 hours pre-pandemic) or roughly 48.5 days per year.
What are we too busy for?"
Please don't read this post as me judging you for not giving more time to church or worship - I trust you that is not my point, nor my friends, who originally wrote the post. I truly believe that none of want to be consumed by these loops but struggle to break free of them. I offer these words as encouragement to suggest that prayer, devotion, and volunteering might offer a meaningful break in the chain. Consider how different things might be if every time you reached for your phone to check Facebook or the news you replaced that with reading a chapter of scripture or a minute in prayer? How much better might you feel at the end?
In Philippians (and other places in scripture) Paul writes about "the day of the Lord" and that should "work towards it." I trust we can interpret this as the establishment of the Kingdom of God here on Earth and Jesus second coming. What if Jesus is ready to return, but is waiting for us to "prepare the landing strip" so to speak. If every person replaced those 48.5 days a year we consumed Netflix and other services with volunteering at a local shelter, church, or nonprofit how different might things look?
What are we too busy for?
Questions to Consider
Nearly every smartphone has a feature that tracks your screen time and what you are spending your time on the most. Consider tracking this for a week and prayerfully consider what one thing you might cut back on and replace with prayer, devotion, or worship.
Make a list of everything you've said you don't have enough time most frequently. Then write "...yet" next to each one. Lift up each in prayer and ask God to help you walk a path that provides that for you.
Say you offered 3% of your time, 3% of your talents, and 3% of your treasures to the church to reach the Biblical standard of 10%. How can you offer 3% of your time to the church next year? (Basically 11 days)
Praying with Praise
Our God is sovereign over time. God holds the future with same perfection and certainty that God holds both present and past. God was in the beginning (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1) and GOd is “the Alpha and the Omega,” the One “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). God declares “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10). In the opening verses of Psalm 90 Moses reflects on the sovereignty of God over time:
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90:1–2)
God is above time, God created time, and God delights in taking time to make known God's glory. At creation God did not speak the world into existence all at once. God took time to delight in the act of creating. For six days God worked and then rested on the seventh day. When God gave God's Word, God did not give it all at once. He took time revealing God's Word to prophets and apostles through many ages. And when Adam fell and God promised the coming Savior, the Seed of the women who would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15), He did not send Him right away. God took time to prepare the way. Jesus came “at the right time” to die for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).
God is sovereign over time. He is intentional in crafting time for His own glory. And He calls on us to be good stewards of time. All our moments and days are gifts from Him. We are to value time and use the time we have wisely. Moses prays in Psalm 90:
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
Many hymns speak of time. They teach us of God’s sovereignty over time and they encourage us to be wise in how we use our time.
Let us come together in praise and thanksgiving for God's sovereignty over time as we sing O God our Help in Ages Past