Day 4 – Time stewardship v. time management
Sometimes life can seem completely and utterly chaotic. We have ventured into my problem with time before in this Bible study.The more I attempt to be on time or really to control time, to manage time, the more I am likely to show up late, spiral into the abyss of anxiety, and trample over someone I didn’t intend to hurt. I’m not suggesting that organization is a negative thing. I am suggesting that the more we try to control, the more God will begin to show us that we are very much not in control.
Dave and I came up with a new concept for our lives that we titled “time stewardship.” Maybe because living in the realm of time management never quite fit for us. It sounds so small, but for us, recognizing that time belonged to the Lord and not to us, helped us to put our priorities in the right place, and also to slow down and enjoy the journey. It lifted the burden of guilt when we chose to sit instead of work, when we said no to something that took time away from the family, or when we had a busy season when things started spinning rapidly and we had to pick priorities tighter than normal.
Time is a funny thing. I think it challenges us to remember our place within God’s universe. It forces us to see who God is and how little we really are, so what happens? Most people choose to ignore it as a concept. We fill our lives with busyness, with appointments, with fun, with entertainment, with rest, with work, with friendships…whatever will keep us from thinking about the clock that has been set in each one of us. “Time waits for no man” as the saying goes. The clock keeps ticking, with or without us.
Time, above all else, means change. Seconds turn into minutes, minutes turn into hours, hours into days, and years, and lifetimes. It will not be held in our tight fist. Change reminds us that we are not in control. In Ecclesiastes 3:14-15, we are reminded that only God lasts for forever.
“I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.”
Whatever God does, whatever He touches endures forever. Whatever we do without Him passes away. We have nothing new to add. Nothing that we spend time on will create this eternal significance that we are seeking.
The good news about our smallness – it means that God can hold us.
When the verse tells us “God has done it”, one thing we can be assured in is that He created time for us, not for Him. This gift is that exact reminder that left us shaking in our boots before. When things change, and time marches on, we stand in the arms of a God who is big. To fear God is to recognize that He is capable. To know Him is to know that He is trustworthy. He is unshakable. He does not change, when the whole world seems to be changing.
“God seeks that which is driven away” or more literally, “God seeks that which is pursued.” This passage was so confusing for me, so difficult to understand, that I made a chart for myself on a post it note and poked my husband until he hashed it out with me for a good couple of hours.
God is a pursuer. He loves us so much that He pursues us on a timeline which is our life. He doesn’t need time. It’s outside of Him. It is for us. He does not change although the world is ever changing around us.
I’m writing this during Lent and I keep coming back to the faces of the disciples who were left in confusion after Jesus died and rose. They went back to time, as they understood it. They went back to their boats to fish, their meeting place in the upper room. They didn’t understand it. But God sought them. He walked out of the tomb and appeared to them in the upper room. He found them on the shore as they cast out their nets. God sought them. He seeks us. This doesn’t change with the time or the season or the ticking of the clock as the hands move on by.
Let’s end this abstract day by looking up Psalm 136. It’s a good reminder that God’s love is the same yesterday today and forever. With Him we are eternal. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He knows the day and the hour. And He seeks us in every moment.
His steadfast love endures forever.
How does eternity change life now for both the believer and the unbeliever?
What changes in life have you resisted from God before?
Recite Psalm 136 responsively with your husband or family, or quietly between yourself and God.