15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
The great equalizer of man is time. Everyone gets exactly 24 hours in a day (unless it is their time to give an accounting of themselves to God), and can manage that time any way they choose. Like the parable of the bags of gold, God has given us various amounts of material wealth, and gifts as well to use for His purposes and to bring glory to His name.
These can be summarized as follows:
- Every second of every day, we choose how to apply ourselves. Some watch TV for hours on end; others play video games; some invest in their family; some in their job; others in pursuits that bring them pleasure or to fulfill their obligations; some choose carousing and sleep. Lastly, there are those that invest in God’s kingdom for God’s purposes during God’s timing.
- We cannot ever get even a second of time back. Once it is spent, whether for good purposes or not, it is spent; it becomes one less second that we have left in the life that God has provided to us. Use your time wisely.
- What gifts has God given you? Are you a word-smith? An artist? A teacher? An athlete? A scientist? A pastor? God has given us all gifts that can be used to further His purposes, or squander on our own lives. The Holy Spirit has also provided you with Spiritual Gifts. What a tragedy when someone with a great gift refuses to use it! Imaging the world today if Marie Curie chose to write limericks? How about if Albert Einstein chose to play tiddlywinks? Or, Christopher Columbus decided to make rock gardens? What if Martin Luther chose to tan leather? You have talents! How you choose to use them, or not, is up to you…
- For most people, working at a job – whether their own business or in the employ of someone else – is a daily need and responsibility. God has provided you with talents that, when used for Him, will bring differing levels of wealth in compensation for the efforts applied, risks taken, and perceived value by others for your skills. The Holy Spirit has placed within you special talents in addition to your other talents. Find the one (or ones?) that give(s) you such great joy that you cannot wait to go to work! Remember that the Sabbath was made for man – God intended for work to be so satisfying that we might forget to set aside some time to worship our creator! Don’t believe culture – find what God has placed in you and live a more rewarding life!
- Even if you are scrubbing toilets, do it with all your might as unto the Lord. Others will notice your diligence, and will provide you with better opportunities to make them more money (if they are wise).
- Whether you inherited money, make it from working, get it from a charity, or receive it from the government, you have been entrusted with wealth. Even if you have no money, the fruit of your labor is your treasure. Be aware of what treasure you have, so that you can honor God with it.
- Remember that money is merely a medium of exchange – it allows you to freely trade the fruit of your efforts for the efforts of others in goods and services. Use it wisely.
- If you don’t have money, barter your goods and services well.
- Some people want to win the lottery. Why?!?! It came from the backs of the poor, the destitute, and math-challenged people looking for a quick fix to their financial woes. Unless a person has experience in managing great wealth, they are more likely to abuse it, and end up worse once the money is gone than when they were before they received “the blessing”. Who would want to have to give an accounting to God for what they did with it?
When we bring these three things – Time, Talent, and Treasure – into submission to God, our lives will begin to become more focused and effective. God rewards faithfulness in stewardship with more responsibility. And with more responsibility comes greater reward – not just worldly wealth, but treasure in heaven – when it is used for God’s purposes.
So, let’s ask the question: How effectively am I managing the Time, Talent, and Treasure God has provided to me for His purposes?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, we praise You for You are wonderful. We thank You that You have seen fit to permit us the opportunity to work, and to use skills to create and flourish. Father, we are humbled that You provide this knowing that we mess things up. I pray that You will show me, Father, how I can better use these resources to bring glory to Your name. Reveal in me the talents You have placed in me that will bring me joy when used in Your service. Help me to make any adjustments in life to fulfill this calling that You have given me, and fill my heart with joy knowing that doing this pleases You. Forgive me, Father, for I don’t like change, and uncertainty causes me anxiety. Remove these things from my heart that I may die to self, pick up my cross, and follow Jesus with complete abandon. This I ask in the name of Your Perfect Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.